Danish minister: EU ruling would have left Europe “wide open”

Danish minister: EU ruling would have left Europe “wide open”
Danish immigration minister Inger Støjberg. File photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
Danish immigration minister Inger Støjberg says that, had the EU not ruled in favour of Belgium in a recent visa case, an increased flow of immigration would have been likely.

The European Court ruled that Belgium was not obliged to issue visas to a Syrian family that wanted to apply for asylum there.

The outcome of the case was a fortunate one for EU countries wanting to restrict numbers of refugee arrivals, Støjberg said.

“The consequences could have been unimaginable if the EU Court had decided that we should be obliged to issue visas for the purpose of travelling to a country to claim asylum,” the minister said in a written statement, reports news agency Ritzau.

A Syrian couple with three children applied for visas at the Belgian embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut, where they clearly stated that they intended to claim asylum, reports Ritzau.

After the family returned to their hometown of Aleppo, the application was rejected on the grounds that they had intended to stay in Belgium for longer than the 90-day validity of the visa.

“It would have left the doors to Europe wide open, thereby directly counteracting the measures we have taken to control the flow of people to Denmark,” said Støjberg.

Martin Henriksen, immigration spokesperson for the nationalist Danish People’s Party (DF), was also in favour of the outcome, but said that the ruling would unlikely have had a serious effect on Denmark due to the exemption right regarding EU law that Denmark voted to retain in a December 2015 referendum.

“It would have meant that many people would have had the chance to come to the EU and applied for asylum. That would obviously also affect Denmark on some level,” Henriksen told Ritzau.