Saturday

29th Apr 2017

Charges await Danes and Germans for helping refugees

  • Transporting refugees out of compassion, even inside Denmark, is considered migrant smuggling. (Photo: Jan Kuntra)

People in Denmark and Germany helping to transport refugees in displays of compassion are increasingly likely to be charged.

Last week, Denmark's High Court upheld a migrant smuggling conviction after a Danish couple drove a Syrian refugee family from the south of Denmark to Copenhagen.

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.

The couple were fined €6,000 in March after having made the trip last September.

They appealed but the High Court upheld the conviction and then increased the fine to €6,700.

“We’ve been prosecuted because we gave a family coffee and cookies, and transported them to a railway station,” the couple told the UK daily, The Independent.

The couple did not believe they had violated any laws given the car lift was made within the country.

Similar moves are being made elsewhere.

In Germany, a left-wing MP is likely to face prosecution for helping reunite a child asylum seeker with his father.

Dieter Dehm, from the Left party, admitted to media that he drove the child from Italy to Germany. The boy, who said his mother had died, had crossed the Mediterranean in an effort to reach his father.

As an MP, Dehm has immunity from prosecution. But earlier this week, German prosecutors requested it be lifted.

According to the head of the German Police Union, Rainer Wendt, the MP could face 10 years in jail.

Earlier this year, a retired British soldier turned aid worker stood trial in France after he was caught trying to help an infant Afghan girl get to her family in Britain.

Rob Lawrie was facing five years in jail, but was released with a lesser charge and fined €1,000.

He had been caught late last year trying to smuggle the four-year-old girl from Calais by hiding her in his van.

The individual prosecutions stand in stark contrast to the actions of some governments, which offload migrants en masse to other states.

Hungary's government, for instance, provided buses to refugees in their effort to reach Austria from Budapest.

Fewer refugees to be relocated as EU revises targets

An initial plan to relocate 160,000, which was later amended to 98,000, now appears to drop even further after the European Commission said the new objective was to dispatch only eligible asylum seekers from Italy and Greece.

Most Libya migrants not headed to EU, aid group says

The International Organisation for Migration interviewed thousands of migrants in Libya last year. It found that 60 percent did not want to go to Europe, but had aimed to remain and find work in Libya.

EU stands aside as Hungary detains migrants

Commission is withholding action on Hungary's detention of asylum seekers, even as the Hungarian government tries to "stop Brussels" on immigration policy.

Austria wants out of EU migrant relocations

Austria is required to start relocating asylum seekers from Italy and Greece after an exemption to the scheme ended on 11 March. But Austria's chancellor has other ideas and wants the exemption prolonged.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process

Latest News

  1. EP chief faces questions after homophobic 'summit'
  2. EU signals Northern Ireland could join if united with Ireland
  3. One year later: EU right to open Internet still virtual
  4. Rethinking Europe's relationship with Turkey
  5. Mob storms Macedonian parliament
  6. MEPs retain secrecy on office spending
  7. May accuses EU-27 of 'lining up against Britain'
  8. Resurrected Renzi to regain leadership of Italy's ruling party