Denmark will tell the United Nations it wants to be able to pick and choose the best refugees from the annual UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) programme.
Denmark takes 500 refugees a year from the UNHCR under a quota agreed through international agreement, but in future it wants a better class of refugee from the UN. Although the plan may sound difficult to some, Danish immigration and integration minister Inger Støjberg says it’s for the good of the refugee as well as for the country.
She told Danish newspaper the Jyllands Posten that “You do these people a disservice if they get sent to a country where they can’t fit in. It is of course also good for Denmark if the quota refugees we receive also come to contribute”. The controversial minister, who took control of the department after a right-wing coalition swept away the old Green-Red leftist power bloc from power earlier this year has proven very unpopular among Danish pro-immigration campaigners.
By contrast, she is very popular among the Danish right for her uncompromising stances on immigration, cutting benefits to recent arrivals by half and only allowing them to claim if they learn Danish. It’s what she calls a ‘integration benefit’, rather than an unemployment benefit. Now she wants to take refugees on their ability to fit in and contribute to Danish society. She said:
“It is completely crazy not to take those refugees who have the best chances of fitting in in Denmark. There should be more consideration of the qualifications in regards to whether they can learn the language, take an education and get a job”.
TheLocal.dk reports the angry reaction to Støjberg’s proposal from Denmark’s left, with one Red-Green alliance spokesman remarking that Denmark should not take foreigners based on what Denmark needs, but on what the refugees need. Another, a spokesman for the Social Liberals accused her of condoning modern day slavery.They said: “Does Inger Støjberg think that refugee camps are some sort of job centre where the rich countries can come and hand-pick the smartest individuals? Sort of like the old days in which slaves were set up in a row so that potential buyers could weigh and measure those they wished to import?”.
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