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EU tells Denmark to explain plans to take refugees' cash

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A Danish MEP said there are "so many questions" about Denmark's plans that need answers. Photo: Morten Stricker/Scanpix
15:00 CET+01:00
The European Parliament will require the Danish government to explain its controversial plans to confiscate cash and valuables from arriving migrants.
By a vote of 188-108, the European Parliament voted on Wednesday to require Denmark to send an official representative to Brussels to explain the government's plans to confiscate cash and valuables from refugees, several Danish media outlets reported. 
 
The vote came after media the world over wrote about Denmark's plans, with some drawing parallels to Nazi Germany. 
 
The government's proposal, which is fully expected to pass when it comes up for a final vote on January 26, allows Danish authorities to seize migrants' cash exceeding 10,000 kroner (1,340 euros, $1,450), as well as any individual items valued at more than 10,000 kroner.
 
Denmark has twice backed off its original proposal, first by raising the amount of cash a refugee can keep from 3,000 kroner to 10,000 kroner and then by saying that wedding rings and other items of sentimental value would be exempt.
 
Items such as watches, mobile phones and computers worth more than 10,000 kroner may still be seized. 
 
Danish MEP Morten Helveg Petersen told Politiken that after the proposal received extensive media attention, he has fielded many questions from his European colleagues.
 
“People especially ask me about the jewellery proposal, which continues to get international headlines. What they know about the proposal from the media is not always correct so I explain the details. But after I've explained it, there are still many who cannot understand why Denmark would have such a policy,” he told Politiken. 
 
He welcomed the fact that a Danish government official will now have to explain the plans in Brussels. 
 
“There are so many questions in here that need to be answered,” he said. 

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According to Politiken, it was not immediately certain who Denmark would send to Brussels or when the meeting would take place but PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen told European Parliament President Martin Schulz that a member of his cabinet would come to answer questions about the plans. 
 
The proposal to confiscate cash and goods from refugees is part of a bigger immigration bill which will also delay family reunifications for some refugees by up to three years, as well as shortening temporary residence permits and making it harder to obtain permanent residency for refugees and other immigrants alike.
 

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