Denmark to Take 1,000 Refugees on Voluntary Basis: Government

The government said it has yet to decide the period of time over which the refugees will be accepted. The issue will be discussed next week.

Published: 17th September 2015 03:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th September 2015 03:26 PM   |  A+A-

By AFP

DENMARK; The Danish government said Thursday it had voluntarily agreed to accept 1,000 refugees out of the 120,000 migrants the EU plans to relocate to ease the burden on frontline states.

"In light of the extraordinary situation, we have today told the parties in parliament that the government will offer to receive a limited number of asylum-seekers. The number is 1,000 people," Integration Minister Inger Stojberg said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

The government said it has yet to decide the period of time over which the refugees will be accepted. The issue will be discussed next week.

Denmark would also give an additional 750 million kroner (100 million euros, $114 million) to humanitarian efforts in the areas bordering conflict zones, and to the EU's Frontex border agency, Rasmussen said.

"The time has come for common solutions in Denmark as well as in Europe. It is not easy. There are no easy solutions," he said.

EU member Denmark has negotiated an opt-out from Europe's immigration policy and Rasmussen emphasised there was little support in parliament for accepting refugees under a European quota plan.

Copenhagen's ruling right-wing coalition took power in June, campaigning on tougher asylum rules and on halving benefits for newly-arrived immigrants in a bid to make the country less attractive to refugees.

To ensure that they got the message, it placed adverts in several Lebanese newspapers on September 7 warning of the change in regulations.

But dramatic images of Europe's refugee crisis have helped sway public opinion and a Monday survey by pollster Voxmeter showed that 78 percent of Danes wanted the country to be part of the EU's plan to distribute refugees around the continent.

Thursday's move was criticised by the anti-immigrant Danish People's Party, on which the government usually relies to pass legislation.

Martin Henriksen, one of the party's most outspoken lawmakers, told broadcaster TV2 News the plan was "a bad idea."

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