Danish foreign aid staying in Denmark

Instead of supporting development in poor countries, the money is used on refugees-related expenses at home

Experts warn that Denmark should spend more of its foreign aid in developing countries  (photo: iStock) Experts warn that Denmark should spend more of its foreign aid in developing countries (photo: iStock)
February 15th, 2016 10:51 am| by Lucie Rychla
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Some 30 percent of the total amount allocated to foreign development assistance by the Danish government is being spent in Denmark, reports Jyllands-Posten.

According to the newspaper, the money is being used to pay for the costs relating to refugees applying for asylum in Denmark.

Eight years ago, only 2 percent of the foreign aid budget was spent on refugees in the country.


Read more: Less Danish aid going to poverty, more to refugees

Shooting their own leg
Another 12 percent of Danish foreign aid goes to humanitarian projects that  aim to provide immediate support, but don’t focus on long-term development in the affected country.

“By using a constantly higher share of the development assistance funds on refugees at home, Denmark undermines its efforts to reduce the flow of refugees that the development funds should help to prevent,” Holger Bernt Hansen, a professor emeritus from the University of Copenhagen, told Jyllands-Posten.

“The same applies to migrants from West Africa. We cut down on the aid that could promote development, and thus an increasing number of migrants come to Europe.”

According to Jyllands-Posten, Afghanistan is the second largest recipient of Danish development aid.

Fellow Scandinavian countries Sweden and Norway spend about 30 and 20 percent of their foreign aid budget on asylum-seekers. The UK, in contrast, continues to send all of its development assistance funds overseas.