The bill for the Vordingborg camp, hastily set up by the Danish government in 2015 at the height of the European refugee crisis, has amounted to DKK 20.8 (over $3 million), despite the fact that it has never seen a single resident and had its power supply cut off in 2016.
The camp was set up on the grounds of the Vordingborg military barracks, as hundreds of refugees were entering Denmark by ferry via the southern port of Rødby, Danish Radio reported. As of today, it remains the only refugee camp of this kind in the entire country, and could begin taking in refugees at a day’s notice, should this become necessary.
The heating bill for the camp from 2015-16 reached DKK 2.9 million ($430,000), while running costs for the facility in 2016 reached a whopping DKK 11.1 million ($1.65 million). This year, as electricity and water supplies were disconnected, the cost plummeted to merely DKK 600,000 (almost $90,000).
Teltlejr uden flygtninge har kostet 20 millioner kroner https://t.co/yYedfPWoAS— TV 2 NYHEDERNE (@tv2nyhederne) 11 сентября 2019 г.
Justice Minister Nick Hækkerup of the ruling Social Democrats stressed he intended to keep the facility in place but admitted that some changes may be made. By contrast, the Red-Green Alliance integration spokesperson Rosa Lund called the idea “stupid”, citing the decreased immigration pressure Denmark is currently facing. Proper accommodation centres are a go-to solution, she argued.
A similar tent facility at Søgårdlejren near the South Jutland town of Kliplev established in the same period has since been disbanded and the tents put into storage. The total cost of the two tent camps is about to reach DKK 60 million (close to $9 million).
Temporary tent facilities were implemented by the previous centre-right government as the numbers of refugees entering Europe increased dramatically in 2015. While critics of the tent camps argued they were largely a symbolic measure, a total of 21,316 people applied for asylum in Denmark in 2015, up from 14,792 in 2014 and 7,557 in 2013. Partly owing to former hardline Integration Minister Inger Støjberg's clampdown, the asylum numbers subsequently fell to merely 3,559 in 2018.
This is expected to change in the coming years. The centre-left Social Democrats, currently in power have in recent years, unlike their peers in other Scandinavian countries, adopted a restrictive immigration policy, yet may face increased pressure from pro-immigration left-of-centre parties, on whose support they rely to form a government.