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IMMIGRATION

Immigration to Denmark approaches pre-pandemic level

The number of persons immigrating to Denmark is approached the level seen prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new figures from official agency Statistics Denmark.

An aircraft on landing approach at Copenhagen Airport, August 2021. Immigration to Denmark is now comparable to levels before the Covid-19 pandemic.
An aircraft on landing approach at Copenhagen Airport, August 2021. Immigration to Denmark is now comparable to levels before the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Mathias Eis/Ritzau Scanpix

Around 30,000 people moved to Denmark from abroad in the third quarter of 2021. That is 92 percent of the figure for the corresponding quarter in 2019.

Last year saw immigration fall some way below normal levels, with travel and entry restrictions due to Covid-19 having a significant impact on immigration.

“There are indications that immigration is getting back to the same level as before the large decline in 2020,” Statistics Denmark writes.

The majority of immigration to Denmark comes from countries including Germany, the United Kingdom, Romania, Sweden, the United States and Poland.

Those countries also figure near the top of the list of destinations for people emigrating from Denmark.

READ ALSO: Here’s where Denmark’s foreign residents live and where they come from

Emigration numbers however remain some way below their pre-pandemic levels, according to the Statistics Denmark data.

The third quarter of this year saw 15,576 leave Denmark to live elsewhere, 67 percent of the figure from 2019.

“This is connected to the fact that the tendency to emigrate is high in the early years after immigration – and reduced immigration therefore results in a subsequently reduced emigration,” Statistics Denmark writes.

Denmark’s population stood at 5.87 million people as of October 1st this year. That is the highest number of people ever to have lived in the country and represents an increase of 17,200 compared to the preceding quarter.

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POLITICS

How the EU aims to reform border-free Schengen area

European countries agreed on Thursday to push towards a long-stalled reform of the bloc's migration system, urging tighter control of external borders and better burden-sharing when it comes to asylum-seekers.

How the EU aims to reform border-free Schengen area
European interior ministers met in the northern French city of tourcoing, where president Emmanuel Macron gave a speech. Photo: Yoat Valat/AFP

The EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson, speaking after a meeting of European interior ministers, said she welcomed what she saw as new momentum on the issue.

In a reflection of the deep-rooted divisions on the issue, France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin – whose country holds the rotating EU presidency – said the process would be “gradual”, and welcomed what he said was unanimous backing.

EU countries backed a proposal from French President Emmanuel Macron to create a council guiding policy in the Schengen area, the passport-free zone used by most EU countries and some affiliated nations such as Switzerland and Norway.

Schengen council

Speaking before the meeting, Macron said the “Schengen Council” would evaluate how the area was working but would also take joint decisions and facilitate coordination in times of crisis.

“This council can become the face of a strong, protective Europe that is comfortable with controlling its borders and therefore its destiny,” he said.

The first meeting is scheduled to take place on March 3rd in Brussels.

A statement released after the meeting said: “On this occasion, they will establish a set of indicators allowing for real time evaluation of the situation at our borders, and, with an aim to be able to respond to any difficulty, will continue their discussions on implementing new tools for solidarity at the external borders.”

Step by step

The statement also confirmed EU countries agreed to take a step-by-step approach on plans for reforming the EU’s asylum rules.

“The ministers also discussed the issues of asylum and immigration,” it read.

“They expressed their support for the phased approach, step by step, put forward by the French Presidency to make headway on these complex negotiations.

“On this basis, the Council will work over the coming weeks to define a first step of the reform of the European immigration and asylum system, which will fully respect the balance between the requirements of responsibility and solidarity.”

A planned overhaul of EU migration policy has so far foundered on the refusal of countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to accept a sharing out of asylum-seekers across the bloc.

That forces countries on the EU’s outer southern rim – Italy, Greece, Malta and Spain – to take responsibility for handling irregular migrants, many of whom are intent on making their way to Europe’s wealthier northern nations.

France is pushing for member states to commit to reinforcing the EU’s external borders by recording the details of every foreign arrival and improving vetting procedures.

It also wants recalcitrant EU countries to financially help out the ones on the frontline of migration flows if they do not take in asylum-seekers themselves.

Johansson was critical of the fact that, last year, “45,000 irregular arrivals” were not entered into the common Eurodac database containing the fingerprints of migrants and asylum-seekers.

Earlier, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser suggested her country, France and others could form a “coalition of the willing” to take in asylum-seekers even if no bloc-wide agreement was struck to share them across member states.

She noted that Macron spoke of a dozen countries in that grouping, but added that was probably “very optimistic”.

Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, hailed what he said was “a less negative atmosphere” in Thursday’s meeting compared to previous talks.

But he cautioned that “we cannot let a few countries do their EU duty… while others look away”.

France is now working on reconciling positions with the aim of presenting propositions at a March 3rd meeting on European affairs.

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