“Social cohesion” under threat says Danish PM aiming for “zero” asylum seekers

Denmark’s Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen has shared her “vision” to bring immigration of asylum seekers down to “zero”.

The centre-left leader has balanced progressive calls to combat climate change with warnings about the dangers of globalisation and mass-migration, winning plaudits for leading one of the only left-wing governments in Europe.

Ms Frederiksen has now followed up on her intention to cap non-western immigration with an even tougher stance on asylum.  

“We can’t promise zero asylum seekers but we can create a vision, like we did before the election, that we want a new asylum system and then do what we can to implement it,” Frederiksen told Parliament.

The PM added: “We must take care that not too many [refugees] come to our country, otherwise our social cohesion could not exist. It is already under threat.”

For the time being, Frederiksen’s government has re-committed itself to accepting asylum seekers under the UN’s refugee quota system, having been allowed to not admit applicants for past three years, which explains last year’s historically low figure, just 1,547. In 2020, Britain received more than 32,000 asylum applications.

In a statement released yesterday, the country’s Immigration Minister claimed credit for the low number of applications. “Very many of those who come here have no need at all for protection,” said Mattias Tesfaye.

At the peak of the migrant crisis in 2015, Denmark received only 21,316 asylum applications. Sweden accepted eight times that number even though its population is less than twice the size of Denmark’s – 10.2 million compared to 5.8 million.

“For me, it is becoming increasingly clear that the price of unregulated globalisation, mass immigration and the free movement of labour is paid for by the lower classes,” Frederiksen previously said in a biography published shortly before she was elected in 2019.

The strong position on asylum was a major feature of the election campaign during which Frederiksen looked to highlight her strong bond with Kristian Thulesen Dahl, then leader of right-wing populists, the Danish People’s Party. The SD ended up with 48 seats, some way short of a majority, but enough to run a minority government with the support of hard-left and environmental parties.

A blueprint for left-wing parties across Europe?