Denmark targets zero asylum seekers: PM

Denmark’s Social Democrat prime minister said Friday the country was aiming for zero asylum applications, reinforcing the country’s already restrictive stance on immigration. 

The country is already seeing the lowest number of asylum seekers since 1998, with 1,547 people applying in 2020.

“We cannot promise zero asylum seekers, but we can set up that vision,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in parliament.

The low number of asylum applications last year can be partly explained by the Covid-19 pandemic but it is less than a tenth of the figure in 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis in Europe.

By comparison, the figure of 21,300 applications in 2015 was only about an eighth of the number in neighbouring Sweden.

Denmark, a country of 5.8 million inhabitants, makes no secret of its desire to discourage people from seeking refuge. 

“We need to be careful that not too many people come to our country, otherwise our social cohesion cannot exist,” Frederiksen said.

In 2017, as leader of the Social Democrats, she presented a plan to send “non-Western” migrants back to so-called reception centres in North Africa and the Middle East. 

In September, Copenhagen appointed an ambassador for migration to speed up the creation of one or more migrant camps outside the European Union as part a new European asylum system.