• Denmark's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Denmark rejects EU call for refugee quotas

The Local · 9 Sep 2015, 12:09

Published: 09 Sep 2015 12:09 GMT+02:00

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gave an impassioned defence of the European Union and European values in his first annual European State of the Union address on Wednesday.
 
Speaking in a packed European Parliament in Strasbourg, a forthright Juncker wasted no time in addressing Europe’s refugee crisis, a topic which many had touted would be the focus of the morning’s proceedings.
 
Calling for solidarity, he said European countries should on a “compulsory basis” resettle 160,000 refugees, confirming a figure that had become public earlier in the week.
 
"Now is not the time to be frightened, it is time for bold, determined action for the European Union," he said.
 
But a EU resettlement of refugees will be without the participation of Denmark, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, a spokesman for ruling party Venstre, said shortly after Juncker’s address. 
 
“It is obvious that there is a need for joint European solutions and there is a need for a better and wider distribution of these people in Europe. But with that said, Denmark has already taken its share of the responsibility and will continue to do so. Quotas are not something we care for,” Ellemann-Jensen told Jyllands-Posten. 
 
“Of course Denmark should participate in the solution but we have an opt-out [on EU Justice and Home Affairs, ed.], we stand outside of the joint asylum and immigration policies and Danish asylum rules shall continue to be determined in Denmark,” he added. 
 
Ellemann-Jensen said that the government’s opinion on quotas remains “unchanged” and Denmark will not accept “dictated quotas from either Brussels or Stockholm”. 
 
He did, however, open up the possibility that Denmark might volunteer to take additional refugees after EU ministers meet in Brussels on Monday.
 
"We'll have to look at it on Monday. One expects that there will be a draft of how the distribution should be. And if from the Danish side, we find it reasonable than we can decide how many we wish to take," Ellemann-Jensen told Politiken.  
 
Denmark's opt-out on EU Justice and Home Affairs makes the Nordic nation exempt from having to participate in a shared European approach to the current refugee crisis, even though joining a EU-wide solution could result in Denmark taking in fewer refugees than it does now. 
 
Denmark will hold a referendum on ending its opt-out on December 3rd, but the new proposed ‘opt-in’ model would have no bearing on Denmark’s asylum and immigration policies. 
 
Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen earlier in the week said that “the only solution [to the refugee crisis, ed.] is a European solution” and defended Denmark’s asylum policies
 
 
Story continues below…
“We need to help people in need. Denmark does that more than most other countries. Last year, Denmark was the country that took the second-highest number of refugees in comparison to our size,” he said. 
 
In Strasbourg on Wednesday, Juncker reminded listeners that Europe’s history is also a history of immigration, and attempted to put the scale of the current crisis in perspective, noting that the asylum seekers only make up 0.11 percent of the European population. That figure was 25 percent in Lebanon, he added. 
 
Lauding the efforts of ”far poorer” countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan in dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis, Juncker said countries such as Greece, Italy and Hungary “cannot be left alone to cope with the enormous challenge”.
 
The Commission President also stressed it was unacceptable for countries to accept asylum seekers on the basis of religion — a statement met with applause.
 
During the speech, Juncker said Europe also needed to create a list of safe countries — chiefly Balkan states — but that his was a “procedural” issue, helping EU countries to prioritize refugees from Syria, rather than overriding the Geneva Convention on refugees. 

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Danes: Muslims must speak out against terrorism
Flowers left outside the French embassy in Copenhagen the day after the attack in Nice, France. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix

According to a new survey, 3 in 4 Danes believe that Muslims in Denmark are not doing enough to distance themselves from extremist acts carried out in the name of their religion.

Copenhagen 4th most liveable city in the world
The magazine praised Copenhagen’s bicycle-friendly infrastructure and nightlife. Photo: Roman Board/Flickr

The Danish capital makes a comeback in the British lifestyle magazine Monocle’s Quality of Life Index, where it 'only' came in 10th last year.

Number of Danes joining Isis in decline
Syrian civil defence members evacuate a young man following a reported air strike on the besieged rebel-controlled town of Douma. Abd Doumany/Scanpix

A number of recently published reports from Scandinavian intelligence services suggest that Isis recruitment peaked across Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia in 2013/2014.

Denmark slammed for sending lesbians to Uganda

Denmark’s decision to deny asylum to three lesbians and send them back to their home country of Uganda has been criticized by an LGBT group.

Denmark's heat wave to continue into next week
Take a dip this weekend – you never know what the rest of summer will have in store! Photo: Erik Refner/Scanpix

The long-awaited summer warmth that finally returned to Denmark this week will be sticking around for awhile, meteorologists said on Friday.

More work makes you sick: Danish study

A study that followed Danish workers for 12 years found that when companies enjoy an uptick in business, their employees pay for it with their well-being.

Danish women have become more violent
Photo: Colourbox

Danish women are closing the gender gap when it comes to crime.

Photo gallery
Santas spread (summer) Christmas cheer in Denmark
No big deal, just a Santa taking a selfie while on a Copenhagen canal cruise in the middle of the summer. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix

More than 100 jolly souls dressed up as Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and elves just left Copenhagen – see all of the bearded action from their visit.

Brawl breaks out between Danish asylum centres
The fight started after a player disputed a foul call. Photo: sunnybright/Iris/Scanpix

Upwards of 100 minor asylum seekers were involved in a brawl described by a witness as a “blood frenzy”.

Five million Danish ID numbers sent to Chinese firm
The CPR numbers and health information of 5.3 million residents was sent to a Chinese company. Photo: Colourbox

If you lived in Denmark between 2010 and 2012, it’s almost certain that your personal identification number (CPR number) and health information ended up in the hands of a Chinese company.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Danish Pokémon Go player finds dead body
Technology
Danish Pokémon Go player finds dead body
Denmark can't keep up with trove of ancient discoveries
Denmark can't keep up with trove of ancient discoveries
Our complete coverage from the 2016 Roskilde Festival
Culture
Our complete coverage from the 2016 Roskilde Festival
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Danish police use infamous 'jewellery law' for first time
National
Danish police use infamous 'jewellery law' for first time
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Danes with foreign spouses to be hit by new restriction
International
After Brexit, Danish PM resists calls for similar EU referendum
International
Why Denmark won't try to follow the UK out of the EU
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
National
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
International
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
Society
Sex campaigns lead to Danish baby boom
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Don't worry Denmark, the world still loves you
Culture
Danish diversity ad a massive social media hit – have you seen it?
National
Denmark scraps green card but spares current holders
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Society
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
National
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
National
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
National
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
The second best destination in all of Europe is...
Sport
We are the champions! Denmark wins world badminton team title
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
National
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
Society
Strangest political story in Denmark just got stranger
International
Keeping Denmark in Europol 'maybe impossible'
Analysis & Opinion
Green card holders tell Denmark to keep its promise
2,304
jobs available