Denmark as an asylum role model? Expert explains major error in thinking

Denmark’s asylum policy is strict. Some even say it is the strictest in Europe. Anyone who applies for asylum there has to hand over money and jewelry, for example, in order to finance their stay. The country also wants to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

They should wait for their application to be processed in the East African country and not in Denmark. This plan is currently on hold, but the project is still on the table.

Politicians from all over the world are closely watching Denmark’s handling of asylum seekers. This is also being discussed in Germany.

CDU party leader Friedrich Merz recently advocated following Denmark’s example. “We are not very consistent when it comes to rejection, including deportation,” he said at an event the “Augsburger Allgemeine” . Things are different in Denmark.

Experts are skeptical as to whether Denmark is suitable as a role model

The country is ruled by social democrats. As a result of the government’s change of course, the share of the vote of right-wing national parties fell from over 20 to less than 3 percent, said Merz.

But is Denmark really suitable as a role model for Germany? For Europe? Migration expert Raphael Bossong from the Science and Politics Foundation (SWP) is critical of this.

“It can’t be a one-to-one model like that. “For me, it’s not so much about the strict measures inside,” he says in conversation with “ntv” . “Valuables can be confiscated or a maximum of 30 percent of non-Western foreigners are allowed to live in parts of the city and have to move if necessary.”

If this is compatible with the German Basic Law, “you could decide to adopt some of it”. But Bossong is skeptical as to whether this would really limit immigration to Germany.

“They then go somewhere else, for example to Germany”

According to the expert, Denmark has significantly more room for maneuver “because it is only indirectly linked to the Dublin system and not to all other European legal acts of the European asylum system”. This is a formal obstacle.

But Bossong believes another aspect is more important. “Denmark is a small country and can pursue this policy at the expense of others. Denmark, for example, wants to deport people to Syria again. What happens then? The Syrians are leaving Denmark and going to Germany.”

According to the migration expert, just because our neighboring country is issuing ever stricter rules does not mean that fewer people are coming to Europe. “They then go somewhere else, for example to Germany,” says Bossong.

In his opinion, there are ways to limit the numbers. “But the idea that people will stop coming if you just make it a little more uncomfortable for them here is too simple,” he says.

Bossong considers the CDU idea to be a “milkmaid calculation”

It is clear that states and municipalities are groaning under the constant immigration. By the end of August, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees registered more than 204,000 initial applications for asylum – an increase of 77 percent compared to the same period last year.

In addition, as a result of the Russian war of aggression, more than a million Ukrainians sought protection in Germany without having to apply for asylum.

The debate about how to deal with immigration is more relevant than ever. The CDU politician Thorsten Frei had most recently proposed to abolish the right of individual migrants to apply for asylum on European soil and replace it with reception quotas.

300,000 to 400,000 refugees are to be selected abroad and then distributed throughout Europe. Bossong considers this idea to be a “milkmaid calculation”.

“It might work at the green table. But if the European states now abolish the right to asylum, then I cannot imagine that a political dynamic will arise among the member states in which it will be possible to distribute 400,000 throughout the EU,” he said in an interview with “ntv”.

“A fairy tale, and a dangerous one at that”

The migration expert also wonders how we would deal with it if people still came and stood at the border. How can you turn these people away? “I don’t see any possibility,” says Bossong.

There are measures that he believes can be taken. “You can tighten asylum law, strengthen border protection and, above all, expand legal migration routes.”

But he also emphasizes that this would not make the problem of irregular immigration disappear. That at best one can talk about relative improvements. Bossong believes it is irresponsible to claim otherwise.

“It’s a fairy tale and a dangerous one because it raises false expectations.” Ultimately, he believes that we need more honesty. “You shouldn’t give the impression that you can control everything. The real task is to talk about the changes, but at the same time to provide security.”

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