Denmark’s minister of immigration and integration, Inger Stojberg (shown), said in a statement on September 9 that the Scandinavian country won’t allow any refugees into the country this year under a UN quota system.
Bloomberg reported that starting in 1989, Denmark has pledged to take 500 refugees a year selected by the UN for resettlement. The program is separate from and in addition to European Union efforts to distribute migrants among member states. The EU program has sparked strong opposition from member countries, especially Hungary.
“It’s hard to predict how many refugees and migrants will show up at the border to seek asylum, and we know it may be hard to integrate those who arrive here,” Stojberg said in her statement. “Hence, I would like to see a more flexible quota regime, so that we are prepared, but not obliged, to take a certain number of refugees for resettlement every year.”
An AP report cited Stojberg’s statement that Denmark had received about 56,000 asylum-seekers since 2012 and many of them are expected to try to bring relatives in. She said those already in Denmark should be integrated first.
Last year, Stojberg said the reception of refugees through the UNHCR (The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) program had been postponed, saying Danish municipalities should have “a little breathing room to better take care of those who have already arrived.”
No date for a vote on the UN refugee program in Denmark’s 179-seat Parliament has been set.
Stojberg has been a member of the parliament since 2001. She was a leader in enacting a tightening of Denmark’s asylum law that came into effect on in September 2015. Among other things, the law limited social services for asylum seekers.
As we noted, the UNHCR program is separate from that created by the European Union (EU). We reported in 2015 that on September 9 of that year, speaking to the members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission (the executive branch of the European Union), asked EU members to accept 160,000 migrants.
Juncker noted that since the beginning of 2015, nearly 500,000 refugees had made their way to Europe. The vast majority of them, he stated, were fleeing from war, terrorism, or political oppression in Syria, Libya, or Eritrea.
In our report, we noted that Juncker’s words made plain how much national sovereignty member states have surrendered to the EU, though he lamented that there is not greater uniformity among members, stating: “Since the early 2000s, the Commission has persistently tabled legislation after legislation, to build a Common European Asylum System.”
One proposal offered by Juncker, while appearing to be made in the interest of efficient processing of asylum seekers, would serve to further undermine what little national sovereignty remains among EU members. He stated:
I also believe that beyond the immediate action needed to address current emergencies, it is time we prepare a more fundamental change in the way we deal with asylum applications — and notably the Dublin system that requires that asylum applications be dealt with by the first country of entry.
In other words, under the present system, EU members states have the right and responsibility to process requests for asylum on their own. Juncker favored a more centralized approach, however:
We need more Europe in our asylum policy. We need more Union in our refugee policy.
A true European refugee and asylum policy requires solidarity to be permanently anchored in our policy approach and our rules. This is why, today, the Commission is also proposing a permanent relocation mechanism, which will allow us to deal with crisis situations more swiftly in the future.
By “solidarity,” Juncker obviously meant a uniform, centrally controlled system throughout the EU for processing all asylum requests, thereby denying member states the right to accept or reject migrants who want to cross their borders.
Juncker also called for a “stronger” European foreign policy to address the crises in Syria and in Libya. Another term for such a foreign policy is “interventionist,” which is precisely the foreign policy that the United States and its European allies have pursued in the Middle East for at least two decades. This foreign policy has been criticized by many as being the cause of the instability in the Middle East that has displaced hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Syrians, and others, motivating them to seek asylum in Europe and the United States.
A leading opponent of the EU’s efforts to force member nations to accept migrants fleeing the Middle East has been Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban — who is often described in the media as “right wing” because of his opposition to the European Union’s “open borders” policies. Orban delivered a speech on July 22 in Romania, entitled “Will Europe Belong to Europeans?” In his speech, he strongly criticized Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros and the EU bureaucracy in Brussels for creating a plan to settle more migrants in Europe.
Orban said that the Soros-EU plan is composed of four points:
1) Every year hundreds of thousands of migrants — and, if possible, a million — should be brought into the territory of the European Union from the Muslim world.
2) Upon arrival every one of these migrants should be given an amount in euros equivalent to four and a half million Hungarian forints.
3) Migrants arriving on the continent will have to be distributed among the countries of Europe as part of a mandatory and permanent mechanism.
4) A European immigration agency should be set up that will take all the decision-making powers related to migrant affairs away from the nation states and give them to Brussels.
Orban has made many strong statements against the EU’s migration policies and Hungary has erected fences along its southern border to stop migrants from entering the nation. He has said that Hungary's border fences, supported by other Central European countries, will block the EU-Soros effort to increase Muslim migration into Europe. He explained during his July talk that his motivation for such actions is to preserve Hungary’s Christian culture and that he opposed admitting migrants “who could change the country’s cultural identity.” He said that under his leadership, Hungary would remain a place where “Western European Christians will always be able to find security.”
Photo of Inger Stojberg: /