The Danish Parliament has passed a law allowing asylum seekers to be welcomed outside Europe. Denmark says that it is already holding talks with several non-European countries where asylum seekers can be set up.
It is still unclear which countries are concerned, but in Danish media, Egypt, Eritrea and Ethiopia are mentioned as locations. In April, the government announced that it was close to an agreement with Rwanda.
The EU country is already pursuing a rigorous asylum policy and is strengthening it with this new law. Migrants reporting at the border can soon be flown to a location outside Europe. If their application for asylum is approved there, they will have the right to remain in that host country, but it is not possible to stay in Denmark.
Proponents of the plan hope that the law will contribute to further slowing down migration. “If you apply for asylum in Denmark, you know you are being sent to a country outside Europe,” says a spokesman for the Social Democratic governing party. “So we hope people stop applying for asylum in Denmark.”
“Insane and absurd.”
The European Commission is responding with concern. “This law is not possible within existing EU rules,” says a spokesman. “The right to an asylum application is fundamental in the EU. The processing of asylum applications outside the EU raises fundamental questions about both access to asylum procedures and the right to protection for refugees.”
International organisations are also critical of the law. A senior official of UN refugee organisation UNHCR fears a domino effect. Other European countries could also come up with such legislation.
“ This is insane and absurd,” says refugee organisation Refugees Welcome to press agency AP. “Denmark just wants to get rid of refugees.”