Danish government likely to exempt Ukrainians from controversial refugee ‘jewellery law’

A controversial law allowing Danish authorities to confiscate valuable items from refugees is unlikely to be applied to Ukrainians who seek protection in the Nordic country.

The Ukrainian flag flies in Copenhagen
The Ukrainian flag flies in Copenhagen on March 3rd 2022. The government is unlikely to apply the controversial 'jewellery law' to refugees from Ukraine. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The immigration spokesman for the Social Democratic government, Rasmus Stoklund, told newspaper Ekstra Bladet that the law should not be applied to Ukrainians who come to Denmark to escape the Russian invasion of their country.

The so-called ‘jewellery law’ was passed in 2016 by the previous government and was the subject of domestic and international criticism. The legislation allows police to confiscate cash and valuables above 10,000 kroner from arriving migrants and asylum seekers.

It has not been altered by the current government, although reports in 2019 suggested it was rarely, or perhaps never, used in practice.

Stoklund also said that the government and parliament are looking into rule changes related to residency in Denmark for Ukrainians, so they are not initially affected by asylum laws.

If that were to become the case, the jewellery law would not be applicable to people who come to Denmark from Ukraine, even though they are war refugees.

Stoklund justified the government’s new stance on the jewellery law by arguing Denmark was a regional neighbour to Ukraine.

Refugees in Denmark primarily came from Syria at the time the jewellery law was enacted.

“The jewellery law is made for if you leave the nearby region [Danish: nærområde, literally ‘near area’, ed.] where you are safe, and travel through (other) safe countries. But that is not the case for Ukrainians. We are in their nearby region,” Stoklund told Ekstra Bladet.

The largest party in opposition in Denmark, the Liberal party, has also backed exempting Ukrainians from the jewellery law.

READ ALSO: Denmark wants special residency law for Ukrainians

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Denmark announces seven-billion kroner Ukraine fund

A majority in the Danish parliament has approved a new fund to help Ukraine defend itself against the Russian invasion.

Denmark announces seven-billion kroner Ukraine fund

The fund, which consists of seven billion kroner (€940 million), will be targeted at Danish military, civilian and commercial assistance to Ukraine, according to the Nordic country’s finance ministry.

“Last year, we came together in a historic national compromise on Danish security policies. That was necessary in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen said in a statement.

“With today’s agreement we give some seven million additional kroner to the efforts in Ukraine, and this will happen on a fully economically responsible basis,” he added.

All of parliament’s parties with the exception of the left-wing Red Green Alliance and Alternative parties voted for the fund.

Some 5.4 billion of the total 7 billion kroner will be spent on military assistance to Ukraine, with 1.2 billion kroner on civilian needs and 400 million to support businesses.

Part of the spending is funded by Denmark’s international development budget, while over 5 billion comes from spending an increased portion of the national GDP on the 2023 budget, news wire Ritzau states.

The money is designed to “retain a high level for military support” and “make a genuine difference for the Ukrainians,” acting defence minister Troels Lund Poulsen said.

“Their fight is our fight,” he added.