The UN's high commissioner has called for Denmark to resume accepting its quota of relocated refugees, with asylum applications in the Scandinavian country at a record low.
But the country's two biggest political parties, the Venstre (Liberal) Party, which is the senior partner in the coalition government, and the opposition Social Democrats say that it is too early for Denmark to accept refugees relocated to it by the UN, writes Politiken.
“Since 2015, the number of asylum seekers in Denmark has fallen dramatically. This year only approximately 2,000 new asylum seekers have come to Denmark. This would be a very good time for Denmark to resume accepting quota refugees,” Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told Politiken.
The quota system enables the UN to relocate refugees whose needs cannot be met in countries that neighbour the conflicts they have fled from.
This might include refugees needing special protection, torture victims, unaccompanied women or children with rare illnesses.
The UN is currently able to relocate one percent of its registered refugees, although as many as ten percent actually need to be relocated, according to Politiken's report.
Denmark has accepted 500 of the UN's quota refugees annually since 1989 – until last year, when it suspended its participation in the programme. Several other countries have also stopped accepting or reduced quota refugees.
Marcus Knuth, immigration spokesperson with Venstre, told Politiken that Denmark could resume taking in quota refugees in future.
“But we need to look further ahead. We have big integration problems with the large number that came in 2015,” he said.
The Social Democrats also dismissed immediate recommencement of quota refugee arrivals.
“We are not against taking in quota refugees. On the contrary, all refugees should come to Denmark via that system,” MP Dan Jørgensen told Politiken.
“We would prefer the EU to control its outer borders, so we can stop the terrible trafficking by people smugglers over the Mediterranean. Then we would be about to take in a number from the UN system,” he said.