Norway’s conservative minority government isn’t only facing confrontations over how “green” its state budget will be, or how much oil money should be tapped. It also must respond to new calls that the country take in even more asylum seekers than the roughly 31,000 who arrived last year.
The stream of refugees has since plunged. Instead of shutting down asylum centers set up to receive them, eight humanitarian organizations want the government to keep them open and accept at least 2,500 more refugees who’ve already been certified by the UN.
Asylum seekers’ advocacy group NOAS, Norwegian Peoples Aid (Norsk Folkehjelp), Amnesty International, Caritas, the refugee aid organization Flyktninghjelpen, CARE, Atlasalliansen and Mellomkirkelig råd have sent a letter to the government asking that funds be set aside so that more UN quota refugees can be brought to Norway from camps in Greece and Italy.
“Norway now has a lot of capacity to take in asylum seekers,” the groups wrote in their letter to the government. Immigration Minister Sylvi Listhaug was not encouraging: “Aren’t these eight organizations aware of what the Norwegian people think?” Listhaug commented on social media. She claimed that Norway first must integrate the refugees who already are in Norway, send out those who don’t meet demands for asylum and keep the refugee stream under control.
The issue is bound to come up during parliamentary debate this autumn, though, since the Christian Democrats have also been calling for the government to take in more refugees. The Christian Democrats make up one of the minority government’s two support parties in Parliament.