Internally displaced Syrians get water near the Syrian-Turkish border. Photo: Badi Khlif/Scanpix
Opposition party Venstre says that the large influx of asylum seekers streaming into the country – primarily from war-torn Syria – have conditions that are too generous. The party has vowed to make Denmark a less attractive destination if it wins back power at the next election.
“The majority of asylum seekers have paid large sums to human traffickers who keep an eye on where asylum seekers are given the best living conditions. We want to change the conditions in Denmark so that it become less attractive to come here,” Venstre spokesman Karsten Lauritzen told Jyllands-Posten.
Among Venstre’s proposals are banning refugees from working and only allowing them to eat at asylum centres rather than giving them money for food. The party also wants to see those whose asylum applications are rejected leave the country sooner.
Fellow opposition parties the Conservatives and the Danish People’s Party told Jyllands-Posten that they supported Venstre’s plans, while libertarian opposition party Liberal Alliance said that it would prefer to make it harder to get refugee status in the first place.
Andreas Kamm, the secretary general of the Danish Refugee Council (Dansk Flygtningehjælp), said he didn’t think worsening refugees’ conditions would have an influence on how many come to Denmark.
“Asylum seekers are first and foremost fleeing from something and are to a less degree seeking out a particular country,” Kamm told Jyllands-Posten.
Denmark accepted nearly 4,000 refugees in 2013, nearly a third of which came from Syria. In relation to total population, Denmark accepted the fourth highest number of refugees among EU countries.
From 2011 to 2013, there was a 98 percent increase in asylum applications.
Just this week, local politicians in Rønne on the island of Bornholm and the Jutland town of Sønderborg agreed to take in hundreds of refugees.
In Rønne, at least 300 asylum seekers will be placed in a former care centre, while former military barracks in Sønderborg will house around 300 Syrians.
In Helsingør, politicians are considering the Danish Immigration Service’s (Udlændingestyrelsen) request to put asylum seekers in Helsingør Hospital, which closed on February 1st.