On Monday 26 June, the Clingendael Institute hosted a roundtable discussion on European asylum policies with the Danish Minister for Immigration and Integration, Kaare Dybvad Bek, in cooperation with the Danish Ambassador to the Netherlands, Jarl Frijs-Madsen.
The visit was well-timed, shortly after the recently made EU-asylum deals that seem to have broken the European migration deadlock. These agreements, that focus on faster processing of asylum applications at EU borders and on ways to cooperate with transit countries like Tunisia, provided ample material for discussion.
During the roundtable discussion, Minister Dybvad stressed the importance of controlling borders to protect the working communities. The working class carries the burden of immigration most since they compete for the same jobs and housing as immigrants. The Minister also stressed the importance of a well-functioning return policy. The measures Denmark took to enforce returns have proven to be effective, as the country currently holds only 550 people without legal residence, far fewer than other EU member states. Overall, the Minister sees Denmark's strict migration policy as a way of protecting migrants from falling into the hands of human traffickers and poor living conditions upon arrival.
As one of the first countries to implement such a policy, Minister Dybvad now sees wider support among EU member states for the externalisation of migration procedures, as they all face similar problems as Denmark. The fact that the Netherlands is also considering such externalisation, following several parliamentary motions, seems to confirm this.