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SU grants for internationals disputed in talks

The right wing Danish People's Party has pulled out of talks on an economic growth package, saying it will not support Danish study grants to international students. The European Students Union protests what it calls a 'lame excuse' to attack internationals.

The Danish People’s Party (DPP) has called a ‘time out’ on stimulus package negotiatons until the government provides a clear answer regarding an EU ruling that paves the way for foreign students to be awarded an education grant (SU) in line with Danish students. This is according to and

DPP leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl characterised the EU ruling, which could cost Denmark an extra DKK 400-500m extra in SU expenditure, as ‘problematic’.

“It’s wrong to sit around a negotiating table and discuss cuts for Danish students while the EU has potentially opened up the floodgates for thousands of foreign students to come here and claim a monthly allowance, even though they have a part-time job of up to eight hours a week. It’s complete madness,” he said, calling for new rules that would protect the SU system against the possibility of abuse.

European union: Students are an asset

In a related development, the European Students’ Union (ESU) says it is dismayed by the political debate in Denmark where the Liberal and Danish People’s Party has used a recent judgment by the European Court of Justice as a “lame excuse to attack international students residing in the country”.

“These politicians are missing the main point because this judgment is not only important for Denmark but also for all of Europe. Students of all nationalities have to know their rights when they go to another country, and this ruling says that they cannot be discriminated against because of their nationality,” says Karina Ufert, ESU’s Chairperson.

The ESU and the Minister of Education Morten Østergaard of the centre-left governing coalition in Denmark both argue that international students are an asset rather than an additional cost to the welfare state.

Net contributors

“It is wrong to predict beforehand that students will flock to Denmark to claim benefits and then head straight back to their national countries. A study from the Netherlands has shown that it would be sufficient if only a portion of international students stay behind for it to be economically sufficient,” says Karina Ufert of the ESU.

“Most students would consider staying following their studies if they would be somehow able to contribute to the Danish society”.

Link to Danish news article in here.

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