Vestre prison, picture: Wikipedia

An agreement of the Danish Government with Kosovo envisages the transfer of 300 foreign prisoners (migrants to be repatriated after serving their sentences) to the prison in Gjilan (Kosovo), more than 2,000 kilometres away. The agreement is for five years, renewable, and includes EUR 15 million per year for Kosovo, plus an initial EUR 5 million for upgrading the facility: money still blocked by the Danish Parliament, which has effectively ‘frozen’ the agreement since its announcement (2021). The agreement between Denmark and Kosovo is aimed not at managing migration flows, but at reducing prison overcrowding: its announcement followed a controversial bill, also not implemented, to allow asylum applications of migrants outside Europe to be examined. Social Democrat Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was highly criticised by humanitarian organisations, but was confirmed in government in the autumn 2022 vote, reviving restrictive policies towards migrants and asylum seekers. A report by the UN ‘Committee of Experts against Torture’ indicates that the agreement with Kosovo is not completely off the table: although in a generally positive context, including with regard to the Danish-run detention facilities in Greenland and the Faroe Islands, the report mentions the agreement as an action to counter prison overcrowding. The treatment of prisoners in the facilities would be in accordance with Danish law and the state’s international obligations, and national and international supervisory bodies could monitor them.