The Danish government has published adverts in Lebanese newspapers today telling migrants to stay away from Denmark.
The move, which was first announced in July, follows a decision by the country’s centre-right government to cut benefits to migrants. Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said the adverts would communicate the new policy straight to the immigrants before they even set off.
“There is something strange about the fact that a refugee would travel through several countries before ending up in Denmark,” she added.
The Local reports that the first adverts have now appeared in four Lebanese newspapers, including the Daily Star, which published an English-language version. The ad says that Denmark has cut benefits to migrants by up to 50 per cent and adds that those granted asylum will not be able to bring family members.
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The move has proved controversial, however, with left wing activists planning to put counter-advertisements in foreign papers in a “welcome refugees” campaign.
The adverts have also been criticised by members of the governing Venstre party, with MEP Jens Rohde saying: “One wishes that our minister – before she sets a bunch of things in action and appears on TV thumping her chest about how strong she is – would do some field studies so she could actually see what the conditions are like in Syria, Libya, Greece and the refugee camps.”
Støjberg has defended the ads, however. She wrote on Facebook: “Today I have, as promised, published advertisements in four Lebanese newspapers informing about the changed conditions for people who apply for asylum in Denmark.”
“The aim is to inform objectively and soberly about [Danish rules], which the government is in the process of tightening,” she added. “In light of the huge influx to Europe these days, there is good reason for us to tighten rules and get that effectively communicated.”
The adverts have also been published in 10 different languages on the Danish government’s website, including Albanian, Arabic, Farsi, Pasto and Somali.