October set an all-time single-month record for asylum applications. Photo: Claus Fisker/Scanpix
The Integration Ministry told TV2 News on Tuesday that roughly 3,500 asylum applications were received in October.
The Danish Immigration Service (Udlændingestyrelsen – DIS) only releases official immigration numbers quarterly but the ministry’s estimate makes October a record month for asylum applications, topping the previous high of 3,147 in September 2014.
DIS numbers released last week showed that 9,793 people sought asylum in Denmark in the first nine months of 2014. With the 3,500 new applications in October, it looks almost certain that this year will top the 2014 totals, when 14,815 people sought asylum. That number represent a near doubling of 2013 totals and an almost fourfold increase over 2009, when just 3,855 asylum seekers came to the country.
Addressing parliament on Tuesday, PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen said that refugee numbers are approaching more than Denmark can handle.
“If we don’t conduct policies in Europe and Denmark that allow us to get the influx under control then we will end up with so many people that we cannot handle it,” Rasmussen said.
The PM pointed to the large numbers of refugees and migrants in neighbouring Germany and Sweden and said that “we will have those problems in Denmark too if we don’t keep it under control”.
Speaking to Jyllands-Posten on Wednesday, Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said that for now Denmark has the capacity to deal with the refugees.
“[October's total] is a large number, but we can handle the situation. And we have the capacity that is needed for both handling the cases and in relation to housing the asylum seekers who come to Denmark,” she said.
“But it is no secret that I want to limit the influx into Denmark,” she added.
While Denmark is likely to see 2015 be another record year for refugees, the influx is still nowhere near what its two neighbour countries are experiencing. Germany expects at least 800,000 refugees, with some reports saying the number could reach 1.5 million, while Sweden's Migration Agency says it expects up to 190,000 refugees by the end of the year.