New numbers released by the Danish Immigration Service (Udlændingestyrelsen – DIS) on Wednesday revealed that May was another record month for the number of asylum seekers in Denmark.
Some 879 asylum seekers came to the country in May, which is the highest monthly figure in years. In comparison, there were 556 asylum seekers in April, and 723 in May last year.
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The rising numbers indicate that 2015 may become another record year. According to DIS, 2,853 asylum seekers came to Denmark between January 1st and May 31st, 2014, whereas 2,995 have done so in the same period this year.
The number of asylum seekers in Denmark nearly doubled in 2014, with 14,815 people arriving in the course of the year compared to 7,557 asylum seekers in 2013.
Part of the explanation stems from the fact that an increasing number of Eritrean citizens are being granted asylum following the uproar surrounding a DIS report that claimed that it was safe to send refugees back to Eritrea. That report was disavowed by its one and only named source and heavily criticized by those with knowledge of Eritrea. The government eventually admitted it had 'doubts' about the report and ultimately decided to grant refugee status to nearly all Eritreans seeking asylum in Denmark.
In March, Denmark welcomed only 21 Eritrean refugees, while the number increased to 76 in April and 214 in May.
The rising number of asylum seekers are unlikely to be a welcome development for Venstre leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen and his allies in the blue bloc.
Immigration and asylum were major themes throughout the recent election, with Rasmussen’s blue bloc campaigning on implementing tighter restrictions.
Rasmussen argued during the election that it would be too late to take action after the summer.
“We cannot wait till October because we know that it is in the summer months that the pressure is greatest. That’s why we have to take action now,” he said at a press conference the week before the election.