Iceland will continue to maintain relatively open borders, the Minister of Welfare confirmed, rejecting any idea of turning away asylum seekers at the airport.
Members of parliament are still responding to remarks made by Independence Party MP Ásmundur Friðriksson that Iceland should consider stopping asylum seekers and refugees upon arrival at Keflavík International Airport and “send them back home”. The idea has been met with harsh criticism, especially from within Ásmundur’s own party, and it has now been addressed at the highest level.
RÚV reports that Minister of Welfare Eygló Harðardóttir responded to a formal question posed in parliament yesterday on whether or not she agrees with Ásmundur. Her response was definitive.
“I believe it is very important that we, as a sovereign nation, shoulder our responsibility, accept refugees in accordance with international obligations and do that as best as we possibly can,” she said. “I see no reason for us to adopt a special passport control comparable to how, for example, the Swedes and the Danes have done.”
As such, shutting the country off to asylum seekers and refugees is officially not in the cards in Iceland.