Denmark deporting Nordic welfare seekers

June 8, 2010 at 8:31 PM

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, June 8 (UPI) -- Denmark is coming under criticism for deporting citizens of other Scandinavian countries who apply for Danish welfare benefits, observers say.

Since 2004, Denmark has expelled 46 citizens of other Nordic countries for receiving welfare payments, The Copenhagen Post reported Tuesday.

Citizens of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland have been forced to leave the country, the newspaper said.

One Swedish official said it was "strange" that Denmark's policy differed from all other Nordic countries.

"It's important," Hans Wallmark of the Nordic Council's Citizens and Consumer Rights Committee in Sweden said, "to protect the principles of free movement."

The council promotes cooperation between Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden.

Birthe Ronn Hornbech, Denmark's immigration minister, says Denmark has the right to continue the policy, the Post reported.

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