Left MEPs are demanding action by the European Commission following Danish government’s recent policy shift to reject its commitments under international law.
Breaking with the tradition of respect of international and humanitarian obligations, the Danish government is bringing in a law that ends the right to asylum on Danish Territory and will enable the deportation of asylum-seekers to a third country for request processing.
This latest move by the Danish government to end asylum seeker rights is a clear capitulation to far-right rhetoric and an abuse of Denmark’s opt-out on EU Justice and Home affairs provisions.
Outsourcing asylum applications comes at an estimated minimum cost of €240,000 per person per year1 and runs directly counter to EU law and policy. Indeed, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson gave assurances during her hearing before taking up duties that she would commit to oppose such systems and would work to ensure the right to asylum on EU territory.
“It’s shameful that Denmark is shirking its responsibility towards those fleeing from war or persecution,” said Danish MEP Nikolaj Villumsen (Red-Green Alliance). “Denmark is more than capable of offering protection to asylum seekers, and yet the social democratic government, supported by the right, is now preparing to outsource Denmark’s international obligations to poorer countries.”
“The efforts by Denmark to externalize the asylum procedure and therefore its responsibility lead to a de facto negation of rights of asylum seekers in Denmark and are not compatible with international law,” adds Cornelia Ernst MEP (Die Linke, Germany). “We strongly oppose the law that has been passed and will continue to fight this obsession with externalizing migration policy to third countries. Safeguarding the rights of asylum seekers in Europe means that asylum applications need to be examined fairly in the EU.”
Swedish MEP Malin Björk (Vansterpartiet) said she was “sad and ashamed for what is happening in my fellow Nordic country. We must now work even harder together with all Danish political forces that want to re-establish respect for international law and human rights. At the same time, I expect both UN bodies and EU bodies to take action against Denmark. When a country, be it Hungary or Denmark, so bluntly disrespects both international and EU law, there must be clear consequences.”
A debate in the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties committee will take place on July 14 with the Danish Minister for Immigration. Up for discussion are both the decision of the government to declare Damascus safe (which led to the revocation of the status of Syrians from this area) and the approbation of the law to return all asylum-seekers arriving to Denmark to a third country where their applications will be processed.
1 This fact sheet by an academic centre discusses in more detail the cost of Australia’s asylum policy : http://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/publication/cost-australias-asylum-policy