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Minister Calls Refugee Debate Pissing Contest

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Minister Calls Refugee Debate Pissing Contest

Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson believes Icelanders can accept more than 50 refugees—the number previously agreed on by authorities, according to RÚV. He compares recent declarations regarding the number of refugees we should accept to an auction or a pissing contest.

He told RÚV the discussion about the issue of refugees is good for the country and serves to clarify and focus the country’s policy. The government announced yesterday that a ministerial committee will be formed to discuss the issue of refugees. Icelanders can’t be free of all responsibility, Gunnar Bragi said.

Then he referred to recent public discussion regarding the number of refugees:

“I haven’t been willing to participate in it—I’m going to allow myself to call it an auction or a pissing contest—to name numbers regarding refugees. In fact, I find it a ridiculous discussion to be mentioning five hundred, one thousand, 1,500 or whatever. What we must do is sit down and realize what we can do and what we have the courage to do.”

Once that has been done, a decision can be made about whether more than 50 quota refugees will be accepted and, if so, how many, he continued. “I think we can add some, but I don’t have the courage to and don’t want to name any numbers in some sort of contest. Actually, I find that completely insane.”

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