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Denmark against EU agreement to distribute refugees: minister

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Denmark against EU agreement to distribute refugees: minister
A Doctors Without Borders rescue ship in the Mediterranean. Photo: Asger Ladefoged/Ritzau Scanpix
14:06 CEST+02:00
Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye will keep Denmark outside of a temporary EU arrangement to distribute refugees between member states.

Several EU countries agreed to redistribute migrants at a meeting in Maltese capital Valletta at the end of September.

But Tesfaye said prior to a meeting between immigration minister from EU member states in Luxembourg on Tuesday that Denmark would not take part in the arrangement.

“Specifically, we don’t want to take part in the redistribution agreed between EU countries, the so-called Malta Agreement,” Tesfaye said.

The minister was set to present the Danish government’s own approach to refugees at the meeting, Ritzau reports.

That comprises funding additional help in areas immediately bordering refugee and migrant source countries while taking in a limited number of UN quota refugees.

READ ALSO: 'We’ll take quota refugees': Denmark to UN

“We have instead asked the UN whether we can take Syrian refugees from refugee camps in Turkey,” Tesfaye said.

The Malta agreement was announced at the end of September by five EU countries: France, Germany, Malta, Italy and Finland. The countries stated they were ready to redistribute migrants rescued from the Mediterranean Sea.

“I think it’s a short-term solution for those countries if they start to redistribute. It will just mean more boats will sail towards European ports,” Tesfaye said.

“Our political attention is on helping refugees. As such, a system with automatic redistribution makes us nervous,” he also said, adding that he believes it would add incentive for migrants to travel to Europe.

Earlier this year, Tesfaye announced that Denmark would resume accepting refugees under the UN’s quota system after a three-year hiatus.

 
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