Thousands of refugee children across Europe are still waiting to find out how a new UK government pledge on immigration rules will actually alter their lives — as other countries across the continent also struggle with the influx of migrants and refugees that is showing no signs of slowing.
In Sweden, Interior Minister Anders Ygeman announced that as many as 80,000 migrants may be deported over the next few years if their asylum claims are rejected. Ygeman said that around 45 percent of 2015’s record 163,000 asylum seekers would likely be made to leave.
Thursday also saw a Dutch strategy aimed at tackling the migrant crisis put forward by Labour party leader Diederik Samsom, which suggested the European Union (EU) should begin sending sea arrivals back to Turkey from Greece. In return, the EU would pledge to take between 150,000 and 250,000 refugees each year directly from Turkey — much less than the 1 million that arrived to Europe by sea in 2015.
This proposal reportedly has the support of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, but its implementation would depend on Turkey being considered a safe country for refugees — which most of the EU does not currently agree it is. In a statement, Amnesty International called the plan “morally bankrupt.”
Last Tuesday saw Denmark adopt a law allowing the seizure of migrants’ personal belongings. Possessions including watches, mobile phones, and computers can be taken as a contribution to the expenses of keeping them.
Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei shut down an art exhibition in Copenhagen in protest at the legislation. “It made me feel very angry,” he said.