Denmark has put on hold talks to establish an asylum center in Africa pending a new procedure that will be determined by the European Union (EU) member countries.
The new Danish government confirmed Wednesday it had paused talks with Rwanda on outsourcing an asylum center as it seeks to implement a plan in cooperation with the EU or other countries.
New policy is a deviation from the long-held stance of the previous government which dismissed the suggestion of implementation of a plan with European partnership.
“We are not holding any negotiations at the moment about the establishment of a Danish reception center in Rwanda,” Kaare Dybvad, the Migration and Integration Minister said.
Dybvad clarified that this doesn’t take away the ambition of transferring aslylum seekers to Rwanda but only a change in procedure.
“We still have the same ambition, but we have a different process. The new government’s program calls for the establishment of a reception center outside Europe in cooperation with the EU or other countries,” he stated.
Dybvad maintained that following the fact that many EU countries are now pushing for a stricter asylum policy in Europe, the wider approach also makes sense to Denmark (to have the change in policy).
In the meantime, EU interior ministers are scheduled to meet in Stockholm later this week to discuss asylum reforms in the EU region, which has also seen debate in the UK on to legally move forward with its plans to process asylum seekers while they are in Rwanda.
The ministers are expected to focus on expediting the process of returning undocumented migrants to their home countries after their asylum bid is rejected.
In 2022, Denmark and Rwanda set a joint office to tackle asylum and migration issues under two Memoranda of Understanding on Asylum and Migration Issues and Political Consultations signed in April 2021.
Both countries have also agreed to jointly reach out to relevant stakeholders, including United Nations Refugee agency (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM), the African Union and the European Commission, to facilitate international dialogue on the envisaged initiative for spontaneous asylum seekers.