Swedish PM Kristersson
Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has spoken positively about Denmark’s hopes of setting up an offshore facility, outside of the EU, for processing people who are seeking asylum in the block.
Denmark has held talks with Rwanda over a number of years about setting up an offshore asylum facility in the African country, but its current government has put plans for a bilateral deal with Rwanda on hold and said it would prefer an EU agreement which would allow such asylum processing centres to be established outside of the EU.
The EU has generally shown limited appetite for the idea and it has also been criticised by the African Union and the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR, but Kristersson was positive in an interview with Danish newspaper Politiken.
“Sooner or later I think that it is entirely obvious that asylum should be tried in a different way than tempting people to go on mortally dangerous journeys to get to the European area and then travel onwards,” he said.
Kristersson recently praised Denmark for pioneering stricter immigration policies after he visited the Danish agency responsible for sending refugees back to their home countries.
Asked directly whether the Danish position on asylum facilities should be broadly adopted, he told Politiken “that’s where we’re going to land”.
In the interview, the Swedish PM did not elaborate on a potential timescale for such a plan to become reality, and did not go into further detail on it, but added he believes it is “completely obvious” that “we currently do not have a sustainable European migration policy”.
Plans for an offshore asylum centre were not included in the Tidö Agreement, the policy agreement signed between the coalition government and the Sweden Democrats.
However, the agreement call for an inquiry to be set up which will look into whether asylum seekers could be held in transit centres while their asylum applications are being handled, and analyse whether such centres are possible under European Convention on Human Rights or the Swedish Constitution.
In addition to Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria have recently shown signs of interest in an offshore asylum processing centre, according to Danish news wire Ritzau.
Prior to an EU summit in February, Denmark and Austria, along with six other EU countries, wrote a letter to EU leadership asking for a new approach to reduce migration to the union.
In the later, the eight countries argued that the current asylum system no longer works. Greece, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta and Slovakia were the other signatories.
The letter did not directly mention the option of an offshore processing system.
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