Friday

20th Jan 2017

Danish lawmakers back seizing migrant valuables

  • Police are now allowed to seize anything worth more than €1,340, including cash. (Photo: EUobserver)

Denmark is moving ahead with plans to seize refugees' valuables despite a growing international backlash over its legislative proposal.

The bill to confiscate valuables and toughen other migration policies received wide support among Danish lawmakers on Thursday (21 January) and is set to be voted into law early next week.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It allows police to seize anything worth more than €1,340, including cash, in a government effort to finance their stay in Denmark.

Similar proposals are also being introduced in Switzerland and now reportedly in Germany's Baden-Wurttemberg and Bavaria regions.

The Danish bill also imposes strict measures on family reunification and makes it more difficult to obtain permanent residency permits.

So-called "war refugees" would have to wait up to three years before being eligible to apply for family reunification. The process itself could take even longer.

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the right to family reunification.

Denmark's minority right-wing government is backed by the populist and anti-immigrant Danish People's party.

The preamble to the party's programme says, among other things, that "Denmark belongs to the Danes and its citizens."

The European Commission, for its part, has refrained from making any comments despite sharp criticism from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), Amnesty International, and the human-rights watchdog the Council of Europe.

Margrethe Vestager, a Danish national and perhaps the EU executive's most powerful commissioner at the moment, said the bill hadn't been discussed with the commission.

"When it comes to the concrete legislative measures in Denmark, I am in the privileged position that there are people that I know and trust who will discuss that in a Danish context and I think that is the way it should be and not for me to comment as a commissioner," she told reporters on Wednesday.

The UNHCR has warned the bill, also known as the Danish Aliens legislation, could violate a number of international conventions, including the global convention on the rights of the child.

Last week, the agency accused Denmark of deliberately introducing measures to curb the number of asylum seekers instead of supporting a fair distribution of asylum seekers within all EU member states.

It noted the new law would most likely "fuel fear, xenophobia".

Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, asked the Danish government to scrap the bill.

In a letter addressed to Denmark's immigration minister, Inger Stojberg, earlier this week, he said the law raised "serious concerns of conformity with human rights standards".

Amnesty International, for its part, described the bill as "cruel" in a statement on Thursday.

Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International's deputy director for Europe and Central Asia, said it forced people running from conflicts to make an impossible decision to "either bring children and other loved ones on dangerous, even lethal journeys, or leave them behind and face a prolonged separation while family members continue to suffer the horrors of war".

Focus

No opt-outs on migration, says Malta

For the Mediterranean country that just took the EU presidency, the migration crisis is still there and must be addressed internally and externally.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Hollande thinking of EU council bid
  2. Italy to hold 70% of Monte dei Paschi bank
  3. Nato hit by 500 cyberattacks every month
  4. Hundreds of migrants face German security review
  5. Outgoing US vice-president warns Europe on Russia
  6. German far-right party calls for end to WWII guilt
  7. First Chinese freight train arrives in Europe
  8. Europe has no vision, says Italian minister

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey

Latest News

  1. 'Be patient,' ECB chief tells Germany
  2. EU cannot copy Australia's offshore asylum model
  3. Brexit men launch anti-EU website
  4. Germany details its 'Marshall Plan' for Africa
  5. IMF predicts 'pain' for UK, as banks prepare London exit
  6. EP deal could help Tusk keep Council job
  7. UN struggles to monitor fate of readmitted Syrians in Turkey
  8. European space chief: Moon village is 'more or less a fact'