People in UK, Germany & Finland favor Danish law to confiscate refugee possessions – poll

© Bjorn Lindgren / TT News Agency
A recent survey of reactions to a Danish law aiming to confiscate refugee belongings has wowed people everywhere with the results: apparently, some EU countries are more in favor of the practice than the Danes themselves.

The poll by comes on the heels of people across Europe coming out to voice protest over last week’s measure, often compared to the Nazi German seizure of Jewish people’s valuables in wartime Europe.

The Danish government said it would not touch items of sentimental value, such as wedding rings. It also justified the move by saying that the Danish citizens on welfare also have to sell a certain amount of valuables as a precondition to receive benefits.

The law specifies that any valuables worth more than 10,000 Danish kronor (about $1,450) are to be confiscated to help pay for accommodation and food costs. Rights groups and many in the Danish populace were taken aback by the tactic, which also outraged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

But a YouGov survey across seven European countries has determined that Germany, Finland and Britain would readily support the law – more so than the Danish, with 62, 55 and 54 percent respectively. This is in contrast to Denmark’s 38 for and 30 against, which sits right next to France, which also scored 39 percent for, but 30 against.

Despite this apparent attitude among Danes, the motion earlier passed with 81 to 27 votes –an overwhelming victory at the parliament. The only country where the legislation received less support was Norway, with 33 percent, according to YouGov.

Of the seven countries polled by the UK-based market research firm, six don’t believe immigrants are there for the better. The most critical of immigrants were France and Finland. Although the pollsters themselves say the statistics could be misleading, if you add the number of those who believe immigrants to have no discernible effect to those who believe they contribute positively. Taken together, they appear to reveal division, as opposed to overwhelming negativity.

Asked to rank the issue of immigration on the list of hot topics, all seven countries listed it among the top three – Britain, Sweden, Norway and Finland believe it is the single most important issue on their agendas today. Poverty came in at number two.

The law continues to face strong opposition among the public in Denmark – hundreds showed up to protest it on Wednesday in Copenhagen.

There continues to be a view that refugees should be treated the same as every other Dane, but critics have said that the Danish selling off their assets still have way more safety nets in the form of unemployment benefits. They also do not get searched in the same way the immigrants do.

“People who have suffered tremendously, who have escaped war and conflict, who've literally walked hundreds of kilometers if not more and put their lives at risk by crossing the Mediterranean should be treated with compassion and respect, and within their full rights as refugees,” Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson said at the time the measure was put into force.