After an October that set an all-time record for the number of asylum seekers, the Danish National Police (Rigspolitiet) estimate that at least 10,900 people crossed into Denmark between November 2nd-9th, significantly more than the 3,500 to 6,000 who have arrived in recent weeks.
The National Police stress that its number is an estimated minimum, based upon observations of arriving ferries, trains, private vehicles and buses.
As has been the case since refugees and migrants starting arriving in waves in early September, it is believed that the majority of last week’s record number are merely passing through Denmark rather than planning to seek asylum in the country.
New figures from the Swedish Migration Board seem to indicate that many of those who cross in to Denmark are continuing on to Sweden. Last week, Denmark’s Scandinavian neighbour saw its highest ever number of refugees over a seven-day period with 10,201 asylum applications.
Sweden’s one-week figure tops the 9,793 asylum seekers that Denmark received throughout the first nine months of 2015.
Andreas Kamm, the secretary general of the Danish Refugee Council, said that the massive numbers seen in the past week could reflect the fact that would-be asylum seekers are aware that Nordic countries, even traditionally open-armed Sweden, are moving to make it more difficult to receive asylum.
“It is now well-known that it is possible to come to Europe and many are speculating how long it will remain possible,” Kamm told TV2 News.
Kamm is currently in Jordan and said that word has spread about the new realities in the Nordics.
“I’m sitting with the Jordan Times and it has an article about the chillier [reception] in the Nordic countries. It states that the asylum rules are being tightened in Sweden and the fires at Swedish asylum centres,” he said.
Sweden said last week that it can no longer guarantee beds for all new arrivals. Sweden’s migration minister, Morgan Johansson, said at a press conference that with the country unable to promise accommodation, refugees may want to “go back to Germany or Denmark.”
That comment was quickly rebuked by his Danish counterpart, Inger Støjberg, who said “Sweden put itself in the situation it is in by carrying out extremely gentle immigration policies in every way.”
Both Støjberg and Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen made it clear that Denmark would not offer to take any of Sweden’s refugees.