Government dispute on UN migration platform

UN migration platform SøreideMinister of Foreign Affairs Ine Søreide explained the UN migration platform to the Parliament. Photo: /

Government dispute on UN migration platform

The Progress Party (Frp) is left alone with its nay to the UN migration platform (AKA the Marrakech accord). The opposition criticises the Government for wasting the Parliaments time on internal disagreement.


It was the Progress Party that stood for the sharpest criticism when Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide (Conservatives) came to the Parliament to inform about the UN platform on Thursday. The party has dissented and promotes a proposal in the Norwegian Parliament to reject the declaration.

– This agreement sets out to combat illegal migration by making it legal. This the Progress Party strongly opposes to, Immigration Spokesperson, Jon Engen-Helgheim, states.

Although the platform is not legally binding, the Progress Party fears that it will be used to change Norwegian politics and, among other things, lead to more liberal rules for family immigration. Engen-Helgheim and several of his party fellows also draw to attention that the platforms intend to «educate» journalists.


The «Red-Green» opposition wonders why the matter was taken to the parliament now, half a year after the platform was negotiated and several days after Norway adhered to it in Marrakech. It is the Government’s responsibility to pursue foreign policy, as long as it does not involve relinquishing power.

MP for the Labour Party, Martin Kolberg, believes that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is put in an embarrassing situation by Thursday’s debate.

– Why does the Prime Minister not stop this? he asks, and simultaneously accuses the Progress Party of representing a «reactionary nationalism». Socialist Leader, Audun Lysbakken, believes that this means that the Progress Party has slept during class and does not understand how massive anger it triggers among their own.

– We have a Government that is stressed by Human Rights Service, Hege Storhaug and assorted conspiracy theorists on the far right. It’s amazing that the government is squeezing itself into the Parliaments agenda just because the Progress Party is repairing its relationship with these environments, Lysbakken comments.

Marit Arnstad (Centre Party) points out that the Government has not explained the issue before now, either when they started the process in the UN in 2016, nor before the platform was finalised.

Not surprising

Eriksen Søreide seems to take it all in her stride.

– That the Progress Party disagrees is not surprising. Their position has been known throughout, she tells NTB. She points out that there was disagreement on foreign policy even in the «Red-Green» Government.

She points out that she has barely gotten questions from the Parliament about the matter, either in writing or orally. She further believes the Government has contributed to the public debate on the issue. With the exception of the Progress Party, there is broad agreement on the platform.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs believes that it is in Norway’s interest to contribute to international cooperation in this area.

– Orderly, safe and regular migration is something we all should have as a common goal. That people seek to other areas will always be the case. We have seen that migration to Europe takes the form of smuggling and human trafficking as well as human rights violations. There are also many who are not in need of protection, Eriksen Søreide states to NTB.

No human right to migrate

At the same time, she stresses that the platform is not binding and that Norway is not forced to change its immigration policy. She lists up what concerned Norway during the negotiations. Among other things, it has been important to remind people of that the countries have a duty to accept own citizens if and when they are returned. Norway also believes that:

  • The document does not make it a human right to migrate.
  • It may be necessary to intern foreign citizens, including minors, as a last resort.
  • The migration platform will not cause Norway to change the rules regarding the exporting of welfare benefits.

Eriksen Søreide admits that Norway was not able to change the wording regarding the media in the platform, but emphasises that freedom of expression and the rights of the media is not going to change.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today