COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark will not take part in a scheme to share out 160,000 refugees proposed by European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, integration minister Inger Stojberg said on Friday.
Denmark, like Britain, has opted out of European Union Justice and Home Affairs rules covering some aspects of immigration and as such is not obliged to take part in any EU schemes on sharing out refugees.
“We’re not going to take any of the 160,000 asylum seekers that need to be distributed on Monday,” Stojberg told journalists. “There are two reasons: Partly because we have a justice opt-out, and partly because we have taken our share.”
EU interior ministers were meeting on Monday to discuss Junker’s proposals. Britain has said it will take 20,000 refugees from Syrian camps over five years..
Denmark became the latest front line in Europe’s refugee crisis when over 3,000 entered the country this week, although most said they were heading towards Sweden, where they expected a friendlier welcome.
Denmark’s reaction has been haphazard, trying to register refugees as per EU rules and temporarily closing some traffic with Germany, but then allowing the migrants to move freely after it became apparent the police had no power to stop them.
More than 14,000 people claimed asylum in Denmark last year and it expects around 20,000 this year. Sweden took in more than 80,000 refugees last year and expects to take the same number this year.
Reporting by Teis Jensen and Alexander Tange; writing by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Kevin Liffey