Norway is on target for asylum quota

Migrants and refugeesMigrants and refugees wait to be helped by members of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, as they crowd aboard a rubber boat sailing out of control in the Mediterranean Sea about 21 miles north of Sabratha, Libya. The EU made commitments Wednesday, July 5, 2017, to ease the migrant pressure on Italy and Greece by having other member states take in some of the refugees who have made the dangerous Mediterranean crossing, but several countries in eastern and central Europe have shown little or no appetite for doing so. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)

Norway is on target for asylum quota

‘Norway has received its quota of 1,500 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy. Now it’s time that other countries also do the same,’ said Immigration Minister, Sylvi Listhaug.

 

On Thursday, a new transfer of asylum seekers to Norway came in through the so-called ‘relocation program’ introduced by the EU. Thus, a total of 1,503 asylum seekers have come to Norway via the scheme, 3 more than we’d undertaken to receive.

Later, Norway will receive another 7 asylum seekers, reaching a total number of 1,510.

As an EEA country, Norway has voluntarily participated in the relocation program.

‘Norway has made a major contribution through both participating in relocation, and contributions to related areas. Now it’s time that those countries who are actually members of the European Union step up to the post’, said Listhaug.

Strong discouragement

The Fremskrittspartiet (Frp) Minister was referring to the strong reluctance shown by several European countries to contribute actively to relocation.

‘Norway has followed through on our obligations, while there are a number of countries who are far behind. The solution for Italy, and the EU, is to control the situation and send back migrants. Otherwise, this will continue for a long time,’ said Listhaug.

Today, only three countries have filled their quota. Only one of them, Malta, is in the EU. Malta has received 137 asylum seekers. The other two are EEA countries, Norway and Liechtenstein.

However, central European countries have been strongly opposed. Three countries, Poland, Hungary, and Austria, haven’t yet received a single asylum seeker through the scheme.

Downwardly adjusted ambitions

The EU’s original goal was to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers, to relieve hard-pressed Greece and Italy. The program was to run over two years, until September this autumn.

So far, only 29,000 asylum seekers have been relocated, and the EU has already heavily downgraded ambition levels. The EU also expects the effort to continue after September this year.

The case has led to disruptive debate about solidarity within the EU.

Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary voted against the scheme when it was adopted. Hungary and Slovakia have also sued the EU Commission to release quotas. The European Court of Justice are now under discussion on the matter.

The EU Commission has, in turn, announced legal action in an attempt to force Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary to receive asylum seekers.

Eritreans and Syrians

Only asylum seekers who are highly likely to be granted their asylum applications are relocated.

The majority of the 1,503 who’ve arrived in Norway are from Eritrea and Syria.

Cooperation between the EU and Turkey has led to a sizeable reduction in arrivals to Greece, but in Italy, the number of arrivals is estimated to be higher than ever before in 2017.

So far, 85,000 refugees and migrants have arrived, most of them across the Mediterranean from Libya, which became a failed State after being virtually flattened by bombing campaigns by Britain, France, the USA and the Royal Canadian Airforce in 2011.

According to R.B. St. John, in the book Libya: From Colony to Revolution (revised ed.), Oxford, Oneworld, 2012, in October 2010, the EU paid Libya €50 million to stop African migrants passing into Europe; Colonel Gaddafi encouraged the move, saying that it was necessary to prevent the loss of European cultural identity to a new ‘Black Europe’.

Europe and the USA, as Hillary Clinton giggled when she commented, ‘we came, we saw, he died’, then went about ensuring the biggest migration of African migrants ever over the Mediterranean ocean with their bombing campaign, and backing for anti Gaddafi forces, opening the way for ISIS, and failed state status for the country.

The situation in Italy is a pressure cooker, and the country have asked other European states to do more to help. Germany have promised to receive 3,000 more asylum seekers from Italy than previously planned.

There wasn’t, however, any discussion between Norway and the EU about increasing Norway’s quota.

 

© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today

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