Interior Minister Gerhard Karner met Danish Immigration Minister Kaare Dybvad Bek to learn more about rapid asylum procedures, exit payments and reception centers in Africa.
When Claes Nilas tells how his 300-strong team at the Danish repatriation agency makes voluntary return home attractive to asylum seekers, it sounds as euphoric as if a salesman is selling Tupperware. Claes Nilas is the director of the Return Office. He is anything but xenophobic. But satisfied with his country’s asylum policy. And he’s a badass. Former Integration Minister Mattias Tesfaye caused quite a stir with the sentence “Half of the asylum seekers in Europe do not need protection in any way”.
The Social Democrat was not deterred (his father came to the country as an Ethiopian refugee). Denmark has been following its restrictive asylum path since 2001, with which Karl Nehammer flirted and now his successor as interior minister, Gerhard Karner, who received tips from his Danish counterpart Kaare Dybvad Bek on Wednesday in Copenhagen for “hard solutions to the refugee problem”. These include: Denmark has been planning asylum agreements with third countries for years. Now there should be a foregone conclusion – the one with Rwanda.
Means: To avoid problems, refugees are deported to countries outside the EU, where their asylum status is determined in a reception center there. But there is no going back to Denmark, even if the assessment is positive. Denmark has a special status here within the EU. Unlike Austria, it does not have to comply with EU law when it comes to asylum.
There is also no long-term asylum status in Denmark. Within 72 hours it says “yes” or “no”. 90 percent of asylum seekers opt for a voluntary return trip. Those who do not object to the negative decision will receive a bonus of EUR 2700 – those who leave the country immediately will receive an additional EUR 2700. Makes 5400 euros, paid out when boarding the home plane.
“It doesn’t mean we do everything one-on-one. But we need to discuss it,” Karner says. All over the EU. “It’s about stopping smugglers and saving lives.” People who die on their way to the “golden west”.
The number of asylum applications is still increasing: in the first half of 2021 there were 10,867, this year 31,051 (plus 185.7 percent) – 3000 in the hardliner country of Denmark.