Only a day after the Danish government announced that it would be introducing significant cuts to the benefits that asylum seekers in Denmark are entitled to, Integration Minister Inger Støjberg told Jyllands-Posten on Thursday that the government will not hesitate to implement further measures aimed at deterring refugees from choosing Denmark as their destination.
See also: Denmark to reduce asylum benefits
If the number of people seeking asylum in Denmark does not begin to decline in 2015, Støjberg said that further action would be taken.
“My fundamental view is that we should be receiving fewer asylum seekers. I will do everything within my power to halt the inflow that we are currently seeing,” Støjberg told the newspaper.
She did not specify what concrete measures may be in store, only ruling out that the government would disallow asylum seekers access to fundamental services such as health care.
The government's new so-called ‘integration benefit', announced yesterday, will replace the standard Danish unemployment benefits that jobless asylum seekers are currently entitled to.
The integration benefit will be lowered to the level of Danish student grants, meaning that a single adult with no children will receive 5,945 kroner per month before tax, compared to the current 10,849 kroner unemployment benefit – a 45 percent cut.
The Danish Refugee Council does not expect that the integration benefit, nor future restrictions, will help reduce the number of refugees coming to Denmark.
“I do not believe that the measures will have any meaningful significance on the flow of refugees coming to Europe, and consequently Denmark,” said General Secretary Andreas Kamm to Jyllands-Posten.
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.
The rising numbers indicate that 2015 may become another record year. According to DIS, 2,853 refugees came to Denmark between January 1st and May 31st, 2014, whereas 2,995 have done so in the same period this year.