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Behind the Numbers: Denmark rummages in refugees' pockets

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SocietyBehind the Numbers

If Denmark has worked out the secret to leading a happy life, they don’t seem willing to share it. Having re-established border checks as well as voting, by a large majority, for firmer laws relating to asylum applications, they seem in no hurry to share the love.

The Danish are European champions when it comes to matters of happiness. Yet it seems that they don’t want to share their methods with the 21,000 refugees that have arrived in the country since the summer of 2015.

The country has strengthened its asylum laws in record time, with the goal of extending their warm, happy feeling as long as possible – by denying it to new arrivals. After following Sweden’s lead at the start of January by re-establishing passport control at its border with Germany, Parliament has now adopted a law allowing authorities to take jewellery and cash up to the value of 10,000 krone (1,340 euros) from incoming refugees. The law passed with 81 votes against 27.

Family reunions are also being made more difficult, and residence permits shortened. Human Rights activists have criticised the intensive nature of the law, the timing of which was poorly thought out – it was passed just in time for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The money must be reinvested in the construction of refugee camps, but it will also dissuade future asylum seekers from taking the route North.

If you really want to get fired up, know that since the 90s Germany has also had the right to confiscate objects of value from refugees in Bavaria and Baden - Württemberg.


This article is part of our Behind the Numbers series, illustrating newsworthy stats with artistic design and a brief analysis.

Translated from Flüchtlingsenteignung: Kein schmucker Zug der Dänen