Denmark cuts benefits for asylum seekers

2015-08-26 19:10


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Copenhagen - Danish lawmakers on Wednesday approved cutting welfare benefits for new asylum seekers in a bid to curtail arrivals.

Integration Minister Inger Stojberg of the ruling minority centre-right liberal party Venstre said it was a first step "to bringing asylum policies back on track", news agency Ritzau reported.

The third and final reading of the bill was passed by a 56 to 50 vote, while 73 lawmakers were absent.

"You can have different political views about the government's solutions, but you can't ignore the challenges," she added. "We have to stop the massive flow of asylum seekers to Denmark."

The liberals came into office in June, and have just 34 of parliament's 179 seats,  but in July secured backing for the cuts from the right-wing, populist Danish People's Party, the conservatives and the smaller Liberal Alliance party.

The vote was "a sad day" for Denmark, said members of the opposition left-leaning Unity List and the Alternative Party.

The cuts - effective from September 1 - will see the monthly cash allowance received by an individual asylum seeker without children almost halved to about 6 000 kroner ($893) before tax, on par with current student grants.

Cuts were also to apply to married couples with children and caregiver allowances.

Martin Henriksen of the Danish People's Party said his party wanted the measures also to apply for asylum seekers who arrived during the past four years when the opposition Social Democrats were in power.

From 2001 to 2011, the Danish People's Party pushed for tighter immigration rules in return for providing parliamentary backing for former minority coalition governments of liberals and conservatives.

Read more on:    denmark  |  migrants

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