Denmark’s minority center-right government doesn’t want to accept any refugees this year that come in under a U.N. quota system, an official said Saturday.
The U.N. refugee agency has made deals with countries, including Denmark, to take in a number of refugees each year. Since 1989, Denmark has accepted about 500 such refugees every year.
But now Denmark “doesn’t want to commit ourselves,” said Integration Minister Inger Stoejberg, considered an immigration hardliner. “I don’t believe we have room for quota refugees this year.”
Stoejberg said Denmark had received about 56,000 immigrants since 2012 and many of them are expected to try to bring relatives in. She said those already in Denmark should be integrated first.
The anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, which backs the government, supports the proposal.
Holger K. Nielsen, a senior member of the small opposition Socialist People’s Party, said it was “totally wrong of Stoejberg to close the door to quota refugees,” saying she was letting down “the weakest refugees in the world.”
No date for a vote in the 179-seat Parliament was set.
Denmark has received about 20,000 immigrants in 2015, a small number compared with its Swedish and German neighbors.
Last year, Stoejberg said the reception of refugees through the UNHCR program had been postponed, saying Danish municipalities should have “a little breathing room to better take care of those who have already arrived.”
In other migrant developments:
— Coast guard forces from Romania and Bulgaria intercepted 217 migrants in the Black Sea who are suspected of trying to illegally enter Romania. Romanian border police said Saturday they spotted a tourist ship carrying 97 migrants from Iran and Iraq sailing close to Romanian waters late Friday and sent it to the port of Mangalia. Separately, a joint Romanian-Bulgarian effort blocked a fishing vessel carrying 120 migrants in the Black Sea near the northern Bulgarian town of Shabla. The ship and its passengers were handed over to Turkey.
— Germany’s interior minister called Saturday for benefits for immigrants to be standardized across the European Union, reducing his country’s attractiveness for would-be migrants. Thomas de Maiziere also urged that legal procedures surrounding asylum and deportation to be standardized. More than 1 million people came to Germany as immigrants in 2015 and 2016.
—Turkish authorities said 40 Syrian migrants were stopped Friday from illegally crossing to Greece from the western province of Izmir. In footage filmed from a coast guard boat, the group is seen in a rubber dinghy. As the coast guard vessel approaches, one man lifts and then briefly lowers a small child toward the sea, while another man raises his arms in prayer. The coast guard then pulls in the dinghy and transfers the migrants to its boat.
Turkey and the European Union signed a deal last year to curb the illegal flow of migrants to Greece. Turkey is hosting more than 3 million Syrians who have fled the war in their country.
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