Tuesday

30th Aug 2016

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".

Under-fire Merkel defends migration policy

The German chancellor sticks by her welcoming policy towards migrants, while a poll suggests more than 50 percent of Germans do not want her to stand for a fourth term in office.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EuridThe 2016 .eu Web Awards is a Chance to Make Dreams Come True so Vote Today !
  2. Nordic CouncilNordic-Baltic Co-operation Vital in Turbulent Times
  3. GoogleBrussels: Home of Beer, Fries, Chocolate and Google’s Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  4. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students to China for ICT Training
  5. EFASpain is Not a Democratic State. EFA Expresses Solidarity to A. Otegi and EH Bildu
  6. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  7. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  8. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  9. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Applies Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  10. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  11. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  12. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER

Latest News

  1. Verheugen did not think VW cheating was morally possible
  2. Greece and EU to tackle labour market reform
  3. EU's €13bn tax decision angers Ireland, US, and Apple
  4. EU and US continue trade talks despite French criticism
  5. UK cannot have and eat EU cake
  6. Apple ordered to repay a record €13 billion to Ireland
  7. End in sight for EU-Poland dispute, says deputy PM
  8. Turkey pledges loyalty to EU and Nato