Den­mark ad­ver­tises how bad it is to refugees

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Den­mark’s immigration min­istry pub­lished ad­ver­tise­ments in Le­banese media aimed at dis­cour­ag­ing mi­grants from com­ing to the coun­try.

The ad­verts, pub­lished in four Le­banese news­pa­pers, note that Den­mark has re­duced so­cial ben­e­fits to mi­grants sig­nif­i­cantly, that those given asy­lum will not be al­lowed to have their fam­i­lies brought to the coun­try dur­ing the first year, that a res­i­dence per­mit is de­liv­ered only to those who speak Dan­ish, and that re­jected asy­lum seek­ers are swiftly sent back to their home coun­tries.

Le­banon, a coun­try of 4 mln, is host­ing 1.1 mln Syr­ian refugees.

Dan­ish so­cial media re­acted sharply to the publi­ca­tions, many opin­ions not­ing that the author­i­ties’ move sharply con­trasts with Ger­many’s wel­com­ing at­ti­tude to refugees.

The mea­sures were one of the first an­nounce­ments made by the new right-wing gov­ern­ment fol­low­ing a par­lia­men­tary elec­tion in June.

The immigration min­istry said Den­mark seeks to re­duce the num­ber of asy­lum seek­ers, but still ex­pects 20,000 refugees this year com­pared to 14,000 in 2014.

In fact, Europe’s refugee cri­sis has al­ready spilled into Den­mark as some 800 peo­ple en­tered the coun­try from Ger­many and tried to head to Swe­den on Mon­day.

Prime Min­is­ter Lars Lokke Ras­mussen told jour­nal­ists af­ter an emer­gency meet­ing of party lead­ers that most of the 800-1,000 refugees who had come to Den­mark since Satur­day would not seek asy­lum in the coun­try.

Ras­mussen, head of a new mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment de­pen­dent on sup­port from a right-wing party, said bor­der con­trols were no so­lu­tion, crit­i­cised Euro­pean Union states for not fol­low­ing rules on asy­lum seek­ers and said refugees who had en­tered over the week­end must register in the coun­try.

The prime min­is­ter said the refugees should seek shel­ter for the night and wait un­til Dan­ish po­lice co­or­di­nated their trans­fer to Swe­den with Swedish author­i­ties.

“We hope­fully can reach a sit­u­a­tion where peo­ple who want to seek asy­lum in Swe­den can do that,” he told jour­nal­ists.

“As a Dan­ish au­thor­ity, we can­not sup­port peo­ple get­ting to Swe­den, if it does not hap­pen with a de­gree of ac­cep­tance from the Swedish author­i­ties,” he said.

Dan­ish tele­vi­sion chan­nels on Mon­day showed videos of refugees tak­ing trains from Jut­land, in the western part of Den­mark con­nected to Ger­many, to Copenhagen, where they can ride to Swe­den in 35 min­utes by train.

Other videos fo­cused on sev­eral dozen refugees walk­ing along a busy mo­tor­way to Copenhagen be­cause, as they said, they wanted to join their fam­i­lies in Swe­den, or ex­pected to have rel­a­tives join them there far more quickly than in Den­mark.

Swe­den has taken by far the largest num­ber of refugees per capita in Europe. With over 80,000 asy­lum seek­ers ac­cepted last year, it is sec­ond to only Ger­many.

Ras­mussen’s Lib­er­als Party formed a gov­ern­ment in July af­ter win­ning 34 seats out of 179 in Den­mark’s par­lia­ment. Dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, all par­ties sharp­ened their rhetoric against immigration.

The right-wing Dan­ish Peo­ple’s Party won more seats than the Lib­er­als, but re­fused to join the gov­ern­ment, be­liev­ing it would have more in­flu­ence over pol­icy out­side of the cab­i­net. Its leader, Kris­tian Thulsen Dahl, has blamed Ger­many for the stream of refugees into Den­mark and ar­gued for bor­der con­trols, so refugees com­ing from Ger­many could be sent back, ac­cord­ing to the Dublin agree­ment on reg­is­ter­ing asy­lum seek­ers.

“Ger­man politi­cians must take re­spon­si­bil­ity for what they have done by open­ing the bor­der and wel­com­ing peo­ple from the south,” he said. In a Face­book post, he stated that Ger­many’s de­ci­sion to re­ceive Syr­i­ans had bro­ken the Schen­gen agree­ment.

The prime min­is­ter ex­plained that he had spo­ken to Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel on Sun­day and that only a Euro­pean so­lu­tion would solve the cri­sis. Dan­ish rules on ac­cept­ing refugees are seen as stricter than in many other Euro­pean coun­tries.

“I think it is clear for ev­ery­one that the Euro­pean asy­lum sys­tem is un­der huge pres­sure and in fact bro­ken in some cases,” Ras­mussen said be­fore the par­ties met.

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