Center Party keen to close borders

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Norway’s rural-oriented Center Party (Senterpartiet, Sp) shocked even its sister party in Sweden over the weekend when it voted to promote withdrawal from the so-called “Schengen agreement” that has opened borders among various European countries. The party also wants to replace Norway’s economic agreement with the European Union, in addition to securing high tariffs and subsidies that protect Norwegian agriculture and keep food prices high.

Center Party leader Liv Signe Navarsete (center) and her deputies Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (left) and Ola Borten Moe have been trying to mount a more offensive and united front but splits were visible during their weekend national meeting. Less than 5 percent of Norwegian voters support the party, but it still gets a lot of attention in Norwegian politics. PHOTO: Senterpartiet

Center Party leader Liv Signe Navarsete (center) and her deputies Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (left) and Ola Borten Moe have been trying to mount a more offensive and united front but splits were visible during their weekend national meeting. Less than 5 percent of Norwegian voters support the party, but it still gets a lot of attention in Norwegian politics. PHOTO: Senterpartiet

Center Party leaders failed in their attempts to moderate the demands of their anti-Schengen members, who claim that Norway’s participation in Schengen has resulted in more crime and narcotics entering the country. Led by Sandra Borch of the Center Party’s youth organization and Jenny Klinge, a Member of Parliament on the conservative side of the party, a majority of party members voted to seek withdrawal from Schengen and reinstatement of passport control at all border crossings. They think that will hinder the entry of “organized foreign criminal bands” into Norway.

“I was shocked,” Sandra Lindström, international secretary of the Swedish Centerpartiet, told newspaper Aftenposten.  Lindström was monitoring her Norwegian sister party’s annual national meeting in the mountains at Loen over the weekend, and said she found the proposal to essentially try to close Norway’s borders to the freer flow of labour and goods both “shocking and disturbing.”

‘Hostile towards foreigners’
Lindström said “we hadn’t expected” that their sister party would approve an effort to withdraw from Schengen, especially because of the reason for it: “Pulling out of Schengen because they’re afraid of crime from foreign gangs seems hostile towards foreigners.” She said only Sweden’s most anti-immigration party, Sverigedemocraterna, uses the “same sort of rhetoric.”

Center Party leaders ended up dismissing such criticism and publicly backing the result of their membership’s vote. “They (their Swedish colleagues) can believe what they like,” party leader Liv Signe Navarsete told Aftenposten. “But in Norway we’ve had strong growth in crime, the police are worried, and something must be done at the borders. The party has responded that we must pull out of Schengen. Now we have to look at how to do that.”

Some party members also want to limit labour immigration to Norway, but party leadership managed to thwart that effort. The party did vote, however, to demand a national referendum on whether Norway should continue to honor its economic agreement with the European Union, the so-called EØS-avtale that provides access to EU markets. The Center Party thinks it’s too liberal and wants to scrap it, too.

Slim chances
It’s unlikely the party will succeed in its mission to close the borders, but Navarsete claimed a pull-out “will be a theme” during new negotiations among government coalition members if they win a third term after national elections in September. Current public opinion polls suggest that’s unlikely as well.

In other voting at the Center Party’s annual meeting, a majority agreed, among other things, to support a military draft for women as well as men, to ban the serving of alcoholic drinks after 3am, to reform the current regional health care delivery system, and to increase the amount of inheritance that’s tax-free.

As expected, party members also agreed to ban oil exploration and production off Lofoten and Vesterålen in northern Norway, to protect fishing grounds and the scenic beauty of the area. One of the party’s deputy leaders who currently serves as oil minister, Ola Borten Moe, has wanted to open up the offshore area for oil activity but suspended his effort when he realized the majority in his own party was against him.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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  • ForABetterFuture2

    My votes: 1) Limit labor immigration (definitely No), but tighten border for passport control (Yes); 2) Military draft for women (No); 3) Reform health care delivery system (Yes);
    4) Increase tax-free amount for inheritance (Yes).

    • I’d also spend some of the oil money fixing Norways woeful road and rail networks, the cost of shipping goods, (both materials and finished items) is absurd, it costs Norwegian companies billions of nok and immediately puts them behind the competition.
      Hopefully the Centre Party will be gone this election, their time has come and gone, Norway needs to embrace the wider world not hide away from it.

  • concerned user

    You go Norway! Get rid of all the immigrant trash that litter your beautifull country! Send the useless african criminals back to the shitholes they were born in. We are not fortunate enough to have simmilar stances in South Africa as the communist government started by Nelson Mandela and now still run by the ANC, welcomes these criminals into our country, gives them passports and even allows them to vote!

    • I… What? You… have got to be troll. Your blatant racism is showing. Where does it say African immigrants? Take your lack of education to the Yahoo boards.

    • They’s not all African’s, most come from Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East, plus a significant number of economic migrants are Swedes. We want to keep them because Swedish women are better looking than Norwegian women.

    • Zincoshine

      Their policies wouldn’t get rid of the african and pakistani immigrants, it would get rid of the beggars from romania.

      • Dennis van Vliet, Yes, I am a racist, it is not a insult to call me a racist. I am proud of the white race and will always be. I care more for my own race than for others, so if you have a problem with that, calling me a racist is not gonna help. The problem is however not going to change because you all me a racist as your racially inclusive views would be detrimental to the survival of whites, unless that is what you want. What we need are more whites realizing that including non-whites in a white society is a sure way to drive society into white xenophobia! For thousands of years, Europe was the domain of the White and Latino peoples of the world. Africans and Middle Eastern people have no place in Europe and only migrate there as their own countries are too useless to provide for their own people,

  • immigrantion is the only way for a rich country like norway to survive globalisation and increase competitivnes , so if you are willing to trade your high standard of livving for a few africans off your streets , then go ahead :))

    • Somewhat agree on this but Norway should be very choosy on who they allow in, I’d suggest Swedish, Baltic and Polish immigrants would be far more beneficial and less trouble than North African and Middle Eastern immigrants.

  • Close the Borders

    Economic migration is ALWAYS a disaster for the working class population that is indigenous in functional 1st world countries.

    If these immigrants were valuable, they would be most valuable to their own nation and people. The reason they are seeking somewhere else to go to is, they are not valuable and their culture is disastrous in its homeland, and will re-construct the same disaster in 3rd world ghettos anyplace they are allowed to move to.

    You see this in the USA cities, London with no british left in it, Malmo with only muslims who no one in their right mind would ever consider admitting to any country, Paris burned by savage bands of africans yearly, none of whom are of any use or benefit to any native french..

  • flippak

    It’s sad to see so many blatantly racist comments. 🙁

    It’s actually not such a bad idea to tighten the border controls. Norway is getting overrun with criminals from Eastern European countries who only come here to steal. They think that because we are such a rich country that we don’t mind them breaking into our houses while we are sleeping and stealing our stuff. Well guess what, we do mind! >:(

    • Nonsense. The vast majority do not commit crime, but a handful of criminals means that everybody from an entire region gets treated like a thief.

      You know that’s called? Racism.

  • Zincoshine

    I wonder if Kim jong un is secretly leading the center party. Has anyone noticed how similar their policies have become to the juche policy of north korea? The results will be the same too: utter ruin of the country’s economy. Agriculturists should get a real education if they want more money.