COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A Danish lawmaker said Thursday that he regretted saying migrants sailing to Europe should "be fired at" if they cross the continent's "territorial waters." He clarified his remarks to say "warning shots" should be fired instead.
Kenneth Kristensen Berth is a member of the anti-immigration and populist Danish People's Party, the country's second-largest party and a government ally.
Kristensen Berth, EU affairs spokesman for the party, says his initial comments "can be interpreted in a way that hasn't been my intention."
But he said Thursday that "warning shots" should be fired because it is "essential" to protect the European Union's territorial borders.
"It is hard for me to say something else than I agree with him," said Soeren Espersen, deputy party leader who said such situations would be "very, very seldom."
He added "warning shots is something the navy uses to make people follow orders."
Opposition lawmakers and a senior member of Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen's Liberal Party condemned Kristensen Berth for his initial remarks, which were made Tuesday.
"What a warning shot tells is that the next shot fired will hit you if you don't stop your activity," said Jakob Ellemann-Jensen of the governing Liberal Party who preferred "political solutions."
"What follows (a warning shot) is use of violence. That is not OK," he said.