Denmark to rent cells in Kosovo for convicted foreigners

Denmark is going to rent 300 cells in Kosovo. The intention is that people convicted in Denmark who have to leave the country after their punishment will be sent there anyway.

In this way, the Danish Ministry of Justice hopes to relieve prisons in their own country. So it is not about Danes, but so-called unwelcome foreign nationals from countries outside the EU. The Danish government pays the Kosovan government about 210 million euros for the coming years for the reception of prisoners. The government also invests in other projects in the country, such as renewable energy.

The two governments signed a political declaration of intent on Monday for a five-year cooperation. Kosovo, one of the poorest countries in Europe, has about 700 to 800 cells left, while Denmark is struggling with a surplus and with a shortage of guards. Danish rules would apply in the cells in Kosovo.

Criticism

Nick Haekkerup, the Danish Minister of Justice, visited the prison today in the town of Gjilan where the prisoners are housed. He said that โ€œthere are still some things to changeโ€ but that he is generally satisfied.

The deal came to the government on a lot of criticism from lawyers, among others. โ€œI am seriously concerned about this idea,โ€ said attorney Kristian Braad, a former prosecutor. โ€œThe consequence may be that they are not given the rights they should be given, for example in the field of human rights.โ€

According to Haekkerup, however, the prisoners will be treated in the same way as in Danish prisons. Denmark is not the first European country to host prisoners elsewhere. In 2015, Norway housed 200 prisoners in the Netherlands for three years, and Denmark had previously planned to accommodate prisoners in Romania.

Strict migration policy

Denmark has been pursuing a restrictive migration policy for years. For example, in 2018, there were plans to accommodate a hundred unwanted aliens on a tiny Danish island. In doing so, the government wanted to send the signal that the country has Europes strictest asylum and migration policy and discourage asylum seekers from staying in the country.

This year, Parliament passed a law that makes it possible to accommodate asylum seekers outside Europe. That came to the country to a lot of criticism from the European Commission.