Thursday

18th Oct 2018

Denmark says it already has 'fair share' of refugees

  • Denmark will not be taking part in the mandatory distribution of migrants, says integration minister Inger Stoejberg. (Photo: Venstre, Henrik Bjerregrav)

Denmark will not take part in a mandatory distribution of asylum seekers, as suggested by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Danish integration minister Inger Stoejberg said.

She told told Danish news agency Ritzau on Friday (11 September) that an informal distribution of refugees is already taking place across Europe and that Denmark has granted asylum to 'a fair share' of them.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Danish police estimated that 30,000 people gathered outside the Danish parliament building in Copenhagen on Saturday, shouting "Refugees are welcome" (Photo: EUobserver)

"We take the second highest number [of migrants], if we look at the Syrians, and if we look at all the [migrant] groups, we take the fifth highest", she said.

The announcement comes amid widespread confusion over the rules for registration of migrants arriving in Denmark from Germany in their thousands over the past week, closing motorways and halting public transport.

Denmark is the hub between Germany and Sweden, the two most popular destinations for refugees.

Many refugees have refused registration in Denmark, because their ultimate goal was to travel on to Sweden and further north.

Under the Dublin convention, Danish authorities are obliged to fingerprint newcomers, but have refrained from using force to do so.

Swedish prime minister Stefan Loefven on Thursday slammed the Danes for not fulfilling their international obligations, saying "all countries must register refugees."

But how can Denmark be the first country of arrival, when people arrive by ferry or train from Germany, the counter argument goes.

Danish police accordingly have permitted all refugees to reach Sweden unimpeded, while only fingerprinting those who have requested asylum in Denmark.

The registration of asylum seekers in Europe is regulated by the Dublin convention in order to prevent refugees from seeking asylum in more than one country and to ensure that applications are dealt with in the first EU entry point.

But mass migration has made it impossible for authorities all over Europe to cope with the task.

The situation is unusually complicated in Denmark.

It has opted out of European Union Justice and Home Affairs rules covering some aspects of immigration and as such is not obliged to take part in any EU schemes on sharing out refugees.

But less than three weeks ago the Danish government announced a referendum to be held on 3 December over the opt-outs, recommending to let the reservations go.

In 1992, Denmark was granted four opt-outs in the areas of defence policy, justice, home affairs and the single currency following the Danish no-vote to the Maastricht Treaty. The opt-outs are specified in the Edinburgh agreement and cannot be changed without Danish consent.

The liberal government recommends people to scrap the justice and home affairs opt-outs, saying Denmark would otherwise not be able to participate in Europol and other important EU cooperation ventures.

At the same time it maintains that Denmark will keep out of EU asylum policy areas.

Prime minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen has announced a visit to Brussels on Thursday (17 September) to explain the Danish position towards council president Tusk and Commission president Juncker.

The Liberals are under pressure from the Danish People's Party, proposing to close Europe's borders as the best way to prevent mass migration.

A Commission spokesman on Friday also tried to clear the confusion and explained that Denmark has 30 days to inform its EU partners whether it wants to participate when an amended Dublin convention is agreed.

"Once the amendment is adopted they have to notify what they want to do. If they want to stay in or not", said the spokesman. "The Ball is with Denmark."

Hungary rejects EU offer to take refugees

The EU's migrant relocation plan would have relieved Hungary of 54,000 asylum-seekers, but Hungary said on Thursday it did not want to have any part in the quota scheme.

News in Brief

  1. Rutte: summit was 'not the moment' for higher climate ambition
  2. Legal text for Brexit relocation EU agencies agreed
  3. Greek foreign minister resigns over Macedonia deal
  4. No Brexit backstop means no approval, says EU parliament
  5. Poland questions supremacy of EU court
  6. Medvedev to meet Juncker and Merkel in Brussels
  7. Italians and Czechs least favourable to remaining in EU
  8. Facebook hack set to be first major test of EU data rules

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa
  2. EU leaders worried about Italy's budget
  3. Russian activist warning on 'fake news' as EU backs action
  4. Kaczynski: No question of Polish EU exit
  5. EU summit to accept urgency of climate action – but no measures planned
  6. MEPs demand more from EU on human rights in Asia
  7. EU migration solutions are on the table - let's adopt them
  8. No progress at Brexit summit, talks continue

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us