September 7, 2015 / 1:41 PM / 4 years ago

Danish PM rejects border controls, calls emergency meeting on refugees

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark said imposing border controls with Germany was not the solution to a refugee crisis which spilled into the country over the weekend and called an emergency meeting of political parties for Monday.

More than 400 refugees have crossed into Denmark from Germany since Saturday. Some people ran from police as they plan to head for Sweden but Denmark said they must register as per the European Union’s Dublin agreement on asylum seekers.

The Danish People’s Party has called for border controls while the immigration ministry launched an advertising campaign in Lebanon to discourage refugees from travel to Denmark. Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen’s minority government depends on the People’s Party for support.

“I think it is clear for everyone that the European asylum system is under huge pressure and in fact broken in some cases,” Rasmussen told journalists, adding that not all countries were adhering to the Dublin agreement.

A news conference is expected later on Monday after the meeting of political party leaders, which begins at 1530 GMT.

Denmark’s immigration ministry published adverts in four Lebanese newspapers and online outlining recent government measures on refugees including cuts of up to 50 percent to benefits for asylum seekers.

The measures were one of the first announcements made by the new government following a parliamentary election in June.

The adverts were ridiculed by some on Danish social media with people pointing out the stark contrast between Germany’s welcoming attitude to refugees and Denmark’s reluctance to take people on.

The immigration ministry said “It is the Danish government’s ambition to reduce the number of people seeking asylum,” in emailed comments to Reuters. It said it expected 20,000 refugees this year, compared to 14,000 in 2014.

Rasmussen said he had spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday and that only a European solution would solve the crisis. Danish rules on accepting refugees are seen as stricter than in many other European countries.

Reporting by Ole Mikkelsen; Editing by Philippa Fletcher

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