European security forces should shoot at the boats ferrying migrants to Europe, a Danish member of Parliament has suggested. He later clarified his comments to explain that he had meant warning shots only.
Speaking to the TV station DK4 on Tuesday, Kenneth Kristensen Berth, a member of the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, said, “The only efficient way is to turn the boats and say: ‘You cannot sail within this national border and if you do, you will either be shot at or be turned around and sailed back.’”
He later clarified on Facebook that he had not meant to imply the boats should be shot at, but that warning shots should be fired into the air.
Party spokesman Soren Sondergaard told Reuters that shooting at refugees is not the official party line, but the party’s deputy leader, Soeren Espersen, said, “It is hard for me to say something else than I agree with him.”
Explaining that such incidents would likely “very, very seldom” occur, Espersen added, “Warning shots is something the navy uses to make people follow orders.”
However, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen of the governing Liberal Party said that his party preferred “political solutions” over violence.
“What a warning shot tells is that the next shot fired will hit you if you don’t stop your activity. … What follows [a warning shot] is use of violence. That is not OK,” he said.
The Danish People’s Party won 21 percent of the vote in last year’s election, making it the second-largest party in Denmark’s Parliament and a key political ally of the Danish government.
Last year, more than 21,000 people applied for asylum in Denmark, prompting a crackdown on asylum regulations in the country. Border controls were tightened, and the government gave the go-ahead for assets such as jewelry to be seized from migrants to help cover the costs of housing them in Denmark.