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 asylum-seekers 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 asylum-seekers 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.”