EU, UN criticize Denmark's new asylum law

The European Commission has expressed concern about a new law Denmark has passed which lets it process asylum seekers outside Europe.

Denmark already has one of Europe's harshest stances on immigration and aims to only accept refugees under the UN's quota system.

On Thursday, 70 Danish lawmakers voted in favor of the new bill, while 24 were against it.

The law is an apparent break with the EU's efforts to overhaul Europe's broken migration and asylum rules.

European Commission spokesman Adalbert Jahnz said the right to claim asylum was a fundamental one in the bloc:

"External processing of asylum claims raises fundamental questions about both the access to asylum procedures and effective access to protection. It is not possible under existing EU rules or proposals under the new pact for migration and asylum."

Under the law, Denmark will be able to move refugees arriving on Danish soil to asylum centers in a partner country.

There they will have their cases reviewed and possibly obtain protection in that country.

It's not clear which country Denmark plans to partner with, but in April its immigration minister appeared in Rwanda in an unannounced visit.

The trip led to the signing of diplomatic agreements on asylum and political matters.

Critics worry moving the asylum process to countries with fewer resources will undermine the safety and welfare of refugees.

The UN warned last month that Denmark's move could trigger a "race to the bottom" if other countries followed suit.

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