Denmark underpins the questionable notoriety it has carved out through tough anti-migration measures. The rich northern country on Thursday became the first in the EU to build a legal shield to automatically deport a citizen who requests asylum outside its borders. In other words, he will reject the petitioner who intends to reside in his country and in return will offer him a non-European territory in which to land.
The Danish government is already negotiating this controversial ‘rebound’ formula with several African countries. Egypt, Eritrea or Ethiopia have been cited as possible destinations by some of the country’s media. But just a month ago, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a ‘Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in asylum and migration matters’ signed during an official visit to Rwanda. The refugees would be transferred to asylum centers where their cases would be heard and, with the support of bilateral agreements, they would foreseeably receive the protection of the local authorities there.
And all amid an avalanche of criticism from humanitarian organizations, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and even the European Commission. This Thursday he spoke of a measure that causes “fundamental concerns” and does not rule out anything after an “in-depth analysis” of it.
- ‘Bounce’ policy.
The Government would already be negotiating to send the applicants to Egypt or Ethiopia in exchange for money
Some organizations see in the initiative a formula to avoid obligations with the Union
The director for Europe of Amnesty International had already warned weeks ago of the movement. “The idea that rich countries can pay their international obligations, depriving asylum seekers of their right even to have their applications considered in Denmark, is deeply disturbing,” he said.
The point is that this new twist of the screw is very controversial and is already read as an attempt by the Nordic country to evade its obligations as a member of the EU, which further complicates the always difficult task of the 27 joining forces and unifying criteria in an issue that has always divided them. The controversial Danish legal umbrella has come forward in its Parliament with 70 votes in favor and 24 against.
The initiative emanated from the center-left government led by Mette Frederiksen and obtained the support of conservative forces and the extreme right. According to recent UN data, 723,000 immigrants reside in the country (Syrians, Turks, Iraqis and Iranians are the most representative non-European groups), 12.41% of its population. In 2019 Denmark ranked 50th by number of foreign citizens.
IN ITS CONTEXT:
Migrants currently reside in Denmark, 12.4% of its population. The largest non-European groups are Syrians, Turks, Iraqis and Iranians.
- Negotiation with between five and ten States.
The government reportedly started negotiations with between five and ten states to accommodate their asylum seekers. Among them would be Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Rwanda, which signed a migration agreement with the Nordic country (without citing the host) last month.
votes in favor and 24 against have served to move the initiative forward
- UNHCR rejection.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees considers this law “contrary to the principles on which international cooperation on refugees is based”.
“If a person seeks asylum in Denmark, he must know that he will be sent to a country outside of Europe. We hope that this way people will stop applying for asylum, “said one of the government’s spokesmen, Rasmus Stoklund, starkly. A message later timidly nuanced by the head of Immigration, Mattias Tesfaye, the son of an Ethiopian immigrant. The commitments that the Nordic country concludes with third States will respect “international obligations.”
But doubts assail. And Brussels puts them on the table: “The external processing of asylum applications raises fundamental questions both about access to asylum procedures and about effective access to protection,” said the Commission’s Migration spokesperson on Thursday. European, Adalbert Jahnz. He even added that “(this formula) is not possible under the existing rules or proposals in the EU or in the framework of the new pact for migration and asylum.”
This new pact proposed by the Community Executive “is based on the right of asylum as a fundamental right of the Union.” A lighter tone than Brussels is used to when it comes to assessing domestic political decisions. “The Commission will carefully analyze Danish laws before deciding on the next steps,” added this spokesperson.
In the background of the controversy are those disparate sensitivities that exist in the EU about the migratory phenomenon. After five years with the Dublin pact in a dead end due to the lack of solidarity of the partners themselves in the distribution of migrants, the European Commission in September of last year promoted a new commitment to supervise the entry, reception or expulsion of migrants that it has not yet come to fruition.
The proposal calls for greater surveillance at the external borders, with a reinforcement of identification and screening systems for a faster return of illegal migrants, in addition to a distribution without quotas appealing to the “responsibility and solidarity” of the partner states. And that all countries take charge of the expulsion of irregular persons assuming costs and logistics. It is also committed to closer collaboration with non-Union territories through “tailor-made and mutually beneficial” partnerships and a much more active role for the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex).