Budgeted refugees ‘not nearly enough’

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Several humanitarian organizations don’t think Norway’s conservative government has budgeted for nearly enough refugees next year. They want Norway to accept, and finance, far more than the 3,000 proposed in the state budget.

Norway has had beds ready at asylum centers to take in refugees, and could receive more, also under better conditions, if there’s political willingness to do so. PHOTO: UDI/Hero

The 3,000 so-called kvote-flyktninger (refugees certified and sent to various countries by the United Nations) is more than the 2,120 taken in by Norway this year. It’s far less, however, than the 5,000 refugees that the refugee relief agency Flyktninghjelpen (Norwegian Refugee Council, NRC) recommends.

“The UN’s need for counties to take in refugees has increased in line with the number of refugees globally,” Pål Nesse of NRC, told news bureau NTB after the government’s proposed state budget was released earlier this week. He said NRC supports the UN’s call for countries to uphold and gradually increase the number of refugees they’ll accept.

NRC also noted that Norway has taken in the lowest number of refugees this year since 2008, and that the country has the economy and capacity within immigration agency UDI (Utlendingsdirektoratet) and local municipalities to increase its refugee arrivals considerably.

Norway’s chapter of Save the Children (Redd Barna) and Norwegian People’s Aid (Norsk Folkehjelp) also think Norway should take in far more refugees than what the state budget allows. They fully support NRC’s call to accept at least 5,000.

“It’s good that the government is increasing the number of UN refugees, but 3,000 is far from enough,” Gunvor Knag Fylkesnes of Save the Children told NTB.

The government, however, continues to stress that it’s most important for Norway to integrate the roughly 30,000 refugees who arrived in Norway during the migrant crisis in 2015, along with the thousands who arrived before that.

The government needs the support in Parliament, however, of the Christian Democrats party, which has argued all along for an increase in refugees. If it demands more refugees, the government may feel compelled to go along.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund