Demography and economic geography
State of central-northern Europe, propri. United Kingdom of Denmark, made up of the Denmark (made up of the Jutland peninsula and the Danish archipelago, for a total of 42,915.7 km²), the Faroe Islands and Greenland. After the construction of the futuristic Øresund bridge in 2000, the areas closest to Sweden were affected by a sharp increase in population and economic activities. The Denmark in recent years has attracted a large number of immigrants, both for the considerable offer of work and for the indicators of the quality of life and individual freedom (often at the top of the world rankings). Out of five and a half million residents in 2014, there were just over 590,000 immigrants (equal to 10.4%), of which one third from Western Europe and two thirds from Islamic countries. Practicing Muslims are estimated to be around 2% of the total population. In 2005, the story of the satirical cartoons on Muhammad, published by the Danish newspaper “Jyllands-Posten”, aroused intense controversy in the Islamic world. The capital, Copenhagen, is home to more than 1,250,000 residents (almost 2 million, considering the suburbs): compared to smaller cities it has a higher percentage of immigrants, especially in the Nørrebro district (more than 28%). For Denmark political system, please check politicsezine.com.
About 50,000 people live in the Faroe Islands, while just under 60,000 live in Greenland, scattered over a vast territory of 2,166,086 km². On December 25, 2008, the Greenlanders voted in favor of independence, through a referendum, adopted by the Danish Parliament on June 21, 2009. This step could have important geopolitical consequences, continuing a path of self-determination in place for decades (in 1985 Greenland had left the EEC with a special referendum): the Danish claims on large portions of the Arctic chessboard could be questioned, favoring the ambitions of cumbersome neighbors such as the United States, Canada and Russia (on the whole question see borders).
Even the Faroe Islands, like Greenland, are not part of the EU: the population, even today, lives mainly from fishing and farming (although young people can study in Danish universities). In July 2013, the EU ordered a boycott against the Faroe Islands, due to a dispute over the quota of allowed fish. Some Faroese constitution projects, aimed at full independence, have been rejected. From a demographic point of view, emigrations are very rare to the islands, if not from Denmark. With 13.6 births per 1000 residents, the Faroe Islands have the highest birth rate in Europe.
The United Kingdom of Denmark hosts the headquarters of the Nordic Council in the capital Copenhagen, which includes Denmark, Sweden and Finland (EU members), Norway and Iceland, as well as the three autonomous territories of Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Åland Islands. Although a member of the EU, the Denmark has kept its own currency, the Danish krone.
In the first decade of the new millennium, Danish politics continued to be dominated by the immigration debate. In September 2005, the publication of 12 satirical cartoons on the Prophet Mohammed in a daily newspaper sparked a violent reaction in many Islamic countries, which had such consequences – even in the following years – as to force some Danish embassies, attacked, to close. The Danish government – a coalition between the liberals of the Venstre (V) and the conservatives of the Konservative Folkeparti (KF), also supported by the Dansk Folkeparti (DF, Danish People’s Party), a xenophobic and anti-Islamic right-wing party, and led by the liberal Anders Fogh Rasmussen – defended freedom of the press, thus exposing himself to a diplomatic crisis with the main Muslim countries. After a ten-year controversy, in February 2015, in Copenhagen, a man first opened fire against a place where an initiative on art, blasphemy and freedom of expression was being held, which saw the participation of the author of other controversial cartoons on Mohammed, and then against the Great Synagogue. Two men were killed, while the bomber managed to escape: a few hours later, the Danish police announced that they had killed the alleged bomber, a young man of Arab origin who had recently been released from prison.
Internally, a welfare reform was approved that cut spending on social policies (2006) and some penalizing measures for immigrants, harshly criticized by European institutions and some international organizations.
In the early elections of 2007, the Venstre won 26.3% of the vote, the Social Democrats (Socialdemokratiet, S) 25.5%. The DF (13.9%) and the KF (10.4%) followed: a new V-KF government was thus formed, again led by Rasmussen. After his appointment as NATO Secretary General (2009), he was replaced by party mate Lars Løkke Rasmussen. Needing the external support of the DF to approve the budget, the new government agreed to tighten immigration legislation (2010) and to reintroduce border controls (2011), in spite of the Schengen Treaty.
While the effects of the global economic crisis were being felt, in the 2011 elections the Venstre slightly improved its consensus (26.7%), while the KF collapsed to 4.9% and the DF suffered a slight decline (12.3%).). The Social Democrats, who had promised an increase in public spending and an easing of anti-immigration measures, obtained 24.9% of the preferences and formed a government, led by Helle Thorning-Schmidt, with the socioliberals of the Radikale Venstre (RV) and the Socialists of the Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF).
The new government committed itself to the issue of civil rights, with the legalization of same-sex marriages (2012), but to face a massive budget deficit it cut public spending on unemployment, scholarships and health care. These policies and a series of scandals involving the Social Democrats were at the origin of a decline in support for the governing coalition, from which the SF came out in January 2014: in the European elections of May 2014, the DF, eurosceptic and xenophobic, was be the most voted party (26.6%).
In the elections of June 2015 for the renewal of the Parliament, the Social Democrats were the first political force in the country (26.3% of the votes and 47 seats), but it was the center-right parties that had the numbers to form the government. The new executive was supported by the Venstre – whose leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen received the post of prime minister – by the DF, the Liberal Alliance (LA) and the KF.
In terms of foreign policy, the Denmark tried to conquer a leading role in the Arctic chessboard: despite the territorial disputes with other regional actors, it was facilitated by the sovereignty over Greenland, and in December 2014 presented to the UN Commission on the limits of continental shelf the documentation in support of its claims (see borders). On the international mission front, in 2007 the government withdrew its contingents from the ‘coalition of the willing’ in ῾Irāq and in 2014 those engaged in the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) in Afghānistān.