Will the Danish government change affect the refugees? | Politics and Economy -

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Although the change of the Danish government may not make a major shift in the country's strict immigration policy, observers say, there are some positive changes affecting the lives of refugees. So what is it?

The 41-year-old Mitte Fredericsen, who leads the Social Democrats, has made her the youngest prime minister of Denmark and the second woman to hold the post after Helene Turing-Schmidt, who took over as prime minister in 2011 before former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

Observers believe that the return of Social Democrats to power may not change much in the policy of asylum followed by Denmark, but the new Danish Social Democratic government slightly eased its position since the campaign, on the issue of asylum and migration.

After three weeks of talks with three other left-wing parties, the prime minister reached an agreement to form a government. Which raises questions about the nature of this agreement and the new government policy towards migration?

Support for strict laws

In fact, the Frederiksson party has often supported the former ruling Liberal Party in its immigration policy, voting with former Prime Minister Lars Loki Rasmussen to ban wearing burqa and niqab in public places, as well as the so-called "jewelery bill" The right to confiscate the jewelry of migrants in certain cases in order to support the budget for asylum and refugee care.

The Social Democrats also supported a proposal in 2018 calling for asylum seekers to be placed in reception centers outside Europe. Prior to the election, Fredericksen suggested a limit to "non-Western" immigrants allowed into the country. Since 2016, Denmark has refused to commit to its annual refugee intake within the UN resettlement program of 500 refugees.

Parlamentswahl in Dänemark (picture-alliance / dpa / S. Trumpf)

The Socialists adopted a hard-line view of asylum policy in their campaign.

Agreement of 18 pages

While it may be called minor changes, the Fredericksson-led party and three other parties within the so-called "leftist bloc" – the Social Liberals, the Red and Green Alliance and the Socialist People's Party – reached an 18-page agreement In order to obtain support in the formation of the government. Fredericksen had to make some concessions to the more flexible immigration policies of the other three parties in the bloc.

According to the local Danish newspaper The Local, Fredericksen said at the end of June that she would continue to pay close attention to the issue of temporary asylum and the issue of repatriation. "When you are a refugee and come to Denmark, we can give you protection, but when there is peace, you have to go home." However, the Prime Minister pledged "to improve the conditions of families of rejected asylum-seekers and to recommend the admission of refugees under the UN quota." A previous plan to house rejected asylum-seekers prior to deportation was canceled on an uninhabited island.

Some good news

Refugees Refugee, Denmark, a part of the Danish non-governmental organization Refugees Welcome, created by former graphic designer Mykala Clanty Benediksen, who won prizes for her work in the field of human rights, also noted positive developments for refugees in Denmark. Denmark since the inauguration of the new government.

According to the website, "refugees who may lose their residence permit if the conditions in their home country improve, will now be allowed to stay if they have a continuous job for at least two years." He pointed out that this slight change might affect the issue of "some of the 900 Somali refugees who lost their permits last year and also for some Syrians in the future."

Another important advantage is that all refugees will have the same right to free higher education. Previously, those with status (temporary protection) did not have the right to free education. Most of the Syrian refugees in Denmark have this kind of protection.

Dänemark Abschiebezentrum (Reuters / A. Kelly)

A detention center for asylum-seekers to be deported.

Those with temporary protection status are usually defined as those who "had no individual asylum motive but fled because of the general situation in their country of origin." In addition to being unable to access free higher education, this situation also prevented the possibility of family reunification for the first three years. According to the website, about one-third of the refugees in Denmark received this type of protection in 2017

No big changes

"The changes will not change the arrival of immigrants to Denmark and the law will not change in this case," Kasper Hansen, a political science professor at Copenhagen University, was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse.

Refugee.DK also announced that refugee families living in Denmark for less than nine years who were receiving assistance to help integrate would not receive less aid as previously announced. According to the announcement in the 2019 budget before the elections, it was assumed that these families would receive a "special allowance for children temporarily granted to the poorest families with children", while a new committee would begin to consider providing support to people living in poverty in general.

The new government will again accept United Nations resettlement rations and families with children from the poorly-funded camps of Shelemark (north of Copenhagen) will be moved to "more humane centers."

"Since the peak of 2015, the number of asylum seekers arriving in Denmark continues to decline," said Mikala Klante Bendyksen, director of Refugees.DK. "There are only about 50 people applying for asylum every week now, a historically low figure." In 2018, there were 2600 asylum applications, 1652 applications were accepted. About one-third of them already have a residence permit. According to Benedict, there are only 14 camps for asylum seekers in Denmark, which currently number about 2,800. Sixteen percent of those have already been rejected and are scheduled to be deported.

Benedictine also explained that since 2013, the majority of the refugees were Syrians, but the Afghans outnumbered them in 2016. The Eritreans were in the lead in 2018, with the Syrians returning to the top this year (2019). Data show that only about 5 percent of asylum seekers In Denmark they are minors from any unaccompanied by their parents.

Prime Minister Fredericsen's tough stance on immigration was consistent with a hardline policy followed by Scandinavian countries that saw the election of center parties in Sweden and Finland as well. Some political analysts said this was an attempt by Social Democrats to try to regain their share of the working-class vote that went to extreme right-wing anti-immigration parties. However, according to The Guardian, the resilience of the Social Democrats to some refugee issues has contributed to greater support from leftist forces that eventually allowed the formation of the government.

Immigrant News: Emma Wallis / Alaa Juma

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