In addition to a 2.9 billion kroner cut in foreign aid announced yesterday as part of the 2016 budget, the government is cutting a further 1.5 billion kroner from foreign development aid as a result of increases in the number of refugees expected to seek asylum in Denmark, Altinget.dk reports.
Kristian Jensen, the foreign minister, announced the further cuts at a meeting of the council for development policy. The announcement has been met with criticism from the opposition party Socialdemokraterne and aid organisations.
Mette Gjerskov, Socialdemokraterne’s development spokesperson, contended that the move will have the opposite effect of slowing the flow of refugees.
“It’s hopeless. If we want to stop the flow of refugees, then we shouldn’t cut back on development aid,” she said.
“The government cut and cut and cut. And that creates hopelessness in Africa and the areas adjacent to Syria, and we thereby contribute to sending people fleeing towards Europe.”
Aid organisation: it’s grotesque
Vagn Berthelsen, the general secretary of the Danish aid organisation Ibis, was equally critical.
“It is grotesque that foreign development aid is used as a reserve account for the cost of the refugee crisis we ourselves have contributed to creating because of our military engagement in Libya and Iraq,” he said.
“The cuts undermine further the long-term effort that is precisely needed to counter the refugee stream.”
It has not yet been decided exactly how the cuts will be implemented. The foreign minister was not available for comment to Altinget.dk.