Early this month, I had the opportunity to spend a full week in Denmark to visit several member organisations and to volunteer with a diaconal centre in Copenhagen. Upon my arrival, I quickly noticed that the majority of the visitors at the center was not actually from Denmark – the majority came from countries like Hungary and Romania, trying to escape a situation of poverty, social exclusion and discrimination. It was disheartening to see that, for many of them, their difficult situation remained the same.
Homeless migrants face increased harassment by the police, and those who are not (yet) registered struggle to access any basic medical care. The only health clinic for unregistered migrants in Copenhagen is entirely privately funded, and the municipality runs separate drug support centres for homeless Danish citizens and homeless migrants. On the streets of Copenhagen, the separation between ‘us’ and ‘them’ is ever present.
The condition of homeless migrants in Copenhagen highlights how social exclusion and discrimination can go hand in hand. Where poverty meets prejudice, they can become two sides of the same coin.
Together with our members, we will continue to emphasise the importance of an integrated approach to tackle the multiple dimensions of poverty and exclusion across Europe.
Have a good weekend,