COPENHAGEN – Denmark will extend temporary controls at its border with Germany by 20 days to Feb. 3 because it wants to guard against potentially large numbers of migrants trying to enter the country, Reuters reported citing the Danish Immigration Ministry.
EU member Denmark introduced a 10-day period of checks at its usually open border with Germany after neighbouring Sweden did it first, causing a surge in the flow of migrants trying to enter Denmark.
Over a million refugees and migrants fleeing war in poverty from countries such as Iraq and Syria poured into Europe in 2015.
Sweden, one of which took in the most refugees in Europe after Germany, extended its temporary controls last week until Feb. 8.
“The assessment is that there is still a risk that a large number of illegal immigrants accumulate in Denmark,” the Ministry of Immigration and Integration said, explaining its decision to extend the border checks.
The number of asylum seekers in Denmark rose to more than 21,000 last year from around 14,800 in 2014. The government expects around 25,000 people to claim asylum this year, a large jump but still far below the 163,000 that applied for asylum in Sweden in 2015.
Also on Wednesday, parliament is due to debate immigration reforms which include a controversial proposal under which the authorities would confiscate refugees’ valuables worth over 10,000 Danish crowns ($1,450) to pay for their stay.
The right-of-centre parties that support the minority Liberals government, including populist Danish People’s Party, said they backed these plans, indicating that could pass. A vote has not yet been scheduled.
The proposals also include making family reunification for refugees more difficult, cutting benefits for refugees and reducing the validity of certain types of residency permits. ($1 = 6.8905 Danish crowns)