Ryan Fahey, Daily Mail, January 22, 2021
Denmark’s prime minister today set a target to drive down the country’s asylum seeker applications to zero to protect ‘social cohesion’.
The country is already seeing the lowest number of asylum seekers since 1998, with 1,547 people applying in 2020. By comparison, applications in the UK were 32,423 last year.
‘We cannot promise zero asylum seekers, but we can set up that vision,’ Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in parliament.
‘We need to be careful that not too many people come to our country, otherwise our social cohesion cannot exist.’
The low number of applications last year can be partly explained by the Covid-19 pandemic but it is less than a tenth of the figure in 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis in Europe.
Denmark’s figure of 21,300 applications in 2015 was only about an eighth of the number in neighbouring Sweden.
Denmark, a country of 5.8 million inhabitants, makes no secret of its desire to discourage people from seeking refuge.
Immigration Minister Mattias Tesfaye said yesterday the country’s strict immigration policies were to be thanked for the low number of applications.
‘Very many of those who come here have no need at all for protection,’ he also claimed in the statement.
Among the country’s strict policies was the planned deportations of Syrian refugees announced in 2019.
After an assessment by the Danish Immigration Service, the government ruled that some migrants could be sent back to Damascus. They concluded the capital, and its surrounds, were no longer dangerous enough for asylum to be automatically granted.
Asylum was rescinded for some Syrian refugees. Deportations, however, were limited due to a reluctance on the part of the Danish government to negotiate with the Assad regime.
Tesfaye said that similar repatriation difficulties for refused asylum seekers made it all-the-more important to curb the number of arrivals.
‘Fewer asylum seekers means, all other things being equal, lower spending on processing applications, accommodation and deportation of those whose claims for asylum are rejected.
‘We can spend that money on more welfare at home and on persecuted people in local regions [near to conflict zones, ed.],’ he said.
In 2017, as leader of the Social Democrats Frederiksen presented a plan to send all ‘non-Western’ migrants back to so-called reception centres in North Africa and the Middle East.
In September, Copenhagen appointed an ambassador for migration to speed up the creation of one or more migrant camps outside the European Union as part a new European asylum system.
The figures announced yesterday aren’t a true reflection of the actual number of asylum seekers to arrive in Denmark. They include individuals who travelled without asylum and some who were approved, for reasons including family reunification.