New arrivals face integration demands

Asylum seekers and immigrants arriving in Norway will soon face new demands aimed at ensuring better integration and competence in the Norwegian language. Education Minister Jan Tore Sanner of the Conservative Party claimed a proposed “integration law” marks the “biggest change in integration policy in Norway since 2003.” That’s when Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who […]

Debate rises over language training

Immigrants and asylum seekers arriving in Norway are immediately urged to learn the language in order to get a job. Only some receive any public support for often-expensive language training, however, and now the government is under criticism for making more language demands. Labour Party leader Jonas Gahr Støre, who also leads the opposition in […]

Italy formally seeks Krekar’s extradition

Norway’s justice ministry received a formal extradition request from Italy on Wednesday for Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, better known as Mullah Krekar. The request comes after an Italian court convicted Krekar of planning terrorism, and sentenced him to 12 years in prison. Krekar, who remained in Norway during his trial in Bolzano, is resisting extradition and […]

Krekar held in custody, faces extradition

A Norwegian court has ordered Islamic cleric Mullah Krekar to be held in custody for at least four weeks, pending extradition to Italy. Italian officials confirmed on Wednesday that they now want Norway to extradite Krekar, and Prime Minister Erna Solberg said nothing stands in the way of granting it. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Wednesday that […]

Krekar convicted, arrested in Oslo

Norway’s most controversial refugee, Mullah Krekar, was under arrest in Oslo on Tuesday after being seized by the Norwegian police intelligence agency PST and held on the request of Italian authorities. His arrest came just after an Italian court sentenced him to 12 years in prison for planning terrorist acts. Drama has swirled for years […]

Asylum applications drop to new low

Only 982 asylum seekers arrived in Norway during the first half of this year, the lowest level since 1997. The conservative government coalition’s strict asylum and immigration policy has made Norway far less hospitable that it was in earlier years. The number of people seeking refuge in Norway declined another 13 percent, according to the […]

Ex-minister’s actions ‘cynical, serious’

The conviction of a former government minister for the Conservative Party, on charges he abused his power to exploit vulnerable asylum seekers, can further further hurt the credibility of Norway’s elected leaders. It comes after nearly two years of revelations about political misbehaviour at the highest levels. Several Members of Parliament, for example, have admitted […]

Retired politician sentenced to jail

Svein Ludvigsen was one of Norway’s most powerful politicians. Now a court in his native Troms has sentenced him to five years in prison for abusing his power to obtain sexual favours from young male asylum seekers. The court for Troms County, where Ludvigsen was fylkesmann (county governor) after leaving Parliament and his government post […]

Deported refugee family returns

Four members of a refugee family who were controversially deported during the weekend were on their way back to Norway Tuesday. The mother of the family was returned already on Sunday, for health reasons, and then Afghan authorities refused to accept her three children. That came as a huge relief to their Norwegian supporters in […]

Ex-minister denies exploiting refugees

One of the most sensational trials regarding alleged abuse of power in Norway got underway in the Nord-Troms County Court on Tuesday. Former government minister and county governor Svein Ludvigsen pleaded not guilty to charges he misused his powerful political positions to obtain sexual favours from young male asylum seekers. The arrest, subsequent charges and […]