SHARE
COPY LINK

POLITICS

Four countries lose Danish development aid as funds diverted to help Ukrainian refugees

The Danish government has set aside two billion kroner to enable the country to take in refugees. The spending will be funded by diverting the country’s development aid budget from countries including Syria, Mali and Bangladesh.

Danish Minister for Foreign Development Flemming Møller Mortensen.
Danish Minister for Foreign Development Flemming Møller Mortensen. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

A Foreign Ministry list of projects that will lose financial backing also shows that Burkina Faso will also lose out on previously pledged Danish development aid.

The projects are to see their funding withdrawn because the government is diverting its foreign development aid to cover the costs of taking in refugees domestically.

Minister for Foreign Development Flemming Møller Mortensen told newspaper Berlingske that the diversion of aid spending was uncontroversial.

“The primary aim of the government’s foreign development strategy is that refugees must be helped in near areas [to conflict, ed.]. Denmark has now actually become a near area, and a special responsibility follows that,” Mortensen said.

“There is therefore no contradiction between what our strategy states and what we are doing now,” he said.

The two billion kroner in foreign development aid for refugees from Ukraine is based on an estimate of 20,000 refugees arriving in Denmark.

The government has signalled that is believes “significantly more” than that number will now come, according to Immigration Minister Mattias Tesfaye.

Should that happen, further funds could be taken from the foreign development budget.

War-torn Syria and neighbouring regions are to lose 50 million kroner due to the decision.  Mali, which is plagued by terror groups, loses 70 million kroner, and Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries, will lose 100 million kroner in Danish aid spending.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

REFERENDUMS

Poll suggests Danes ready to scrap EU opt-out in referendum

A new poll indicates a majority of Danes is in favour of scrapping the country’s EU defence opt-out in an upcoming referendum.

Poll suggests Danes ready to scrap EU opt-out in referendum

The poll, conducted by Epinion on behalf of broadcaster DR, shows 38 percent of voters in favour of revoking the opt-out, compared with 27 percent who want to retain it.

28 percent said they do not know how they will vote, meaning there is still plenty of potential for both a “yes” and “no” outcome in the June 1st vote.

An earlier poll, conducted in March, put the two sides closer, with 38 percent of eligible voters then saying they would vote ‘yes’ to scrapping the opt-out, with 31 percent saying they would vote ‘no’ and 31 percent saying they didn’t know.

The government announced in March a June 1st referendum in which citizens will decide whether to overturn Denmark’s opt-out from EU defence policy. The referendum was called following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Denmark’s opt-out – retsforbehold in Danish – is one of four EU special arrangements negotiated by the Scandinavian country, and has seen it abstain from participation in EU military operations and from providing support or supplies to EU-led defence efforts.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark have four EU ‘opt-outs’ and what do they mean?

In April, the wording of the question on voting ballots for the referendum was changed, following objections from politicians opposed to scrapping the opt-out.

According to a breakdown of the new poll, younger voters and women are the most undecided groups. 20 percent of men said they were unsure how to vote compared to 38 percent of women.

Among 18-34 year-olds, 39 percent were unsure how they would vote compared to 22 percent of voters over the age of 56 who have yet to decide how to cast their votes.

SHOW COMMENTS