The government will suspend contributing to Mediterranean rescue operations

migrants and refugeesPalermo, Italia. Migrants and refugees.Photo : Kripos / NTB scanpix

The budget proposals show that the government are in favour of stopping contributions to Triton rescue operations in the Mediterranean, reported VG newspaper.


According to the government, the numbers of migrants and refugees are now so low that they propose not continuing contributions to the rescue operation next year.
‘Norway has contributed in the Mediterranean with a large vessel since the summer of 2015. From next year we have chosen to prioritise other important tasks,’ said Justice Minister, Per-Willy Amundsen, to VG newspaper.

Sosialistisk Venstreparti (SV) sounds alarm

‘The consequence of this are more suffering and death. The proposal, which originates from the Fremskrittsparti (Frp), is cold and cynical, and breaks with tradition of Norway taking humanitarian responsibility’, said parliamentary commissioner for SV, and member of the justice committee, Petter Eide.

Amundsen rejects the accusation that Norway are shutting down taking responsibility.
‘Norway have contributed over a long period of time, and it’s natural that contributions are rolled-out among different countries. Although Norway will end its contribution, operations in the Mediterranean will continue, and Norway will continue to contribute to Frontex in other areas.

Fighting crime

Operation Triton is coordinated by the EU border control agency, Frontex. The purpose of the operation is to control borders, combat smuggling of human beings, and save people in need at sea.

Twelve vessels currently participate in the Triton operation in the central Mediterranean, including the Norwegian ship, Olympic Commander, which has been in operation since June the 10th this year. The ship took over from Siem Pilot, which over a 34 year period picked up 34,278 people from the sea.

The operation has recently received a stronger profile as cross-border crime fighting, according to EU border agency Frontex.

‘In addition to numerous arrests of human traffickers, we have helped reveal drug smuggling, illegal fishing, and maritime pollution,’ it said in a statement by Frontex to NTB news agency this summer.

Decrease of 64%

In September this year, Frontex registered 13,900 illegal border crossings along the four main routes that migrants use. These include the central, western and eastern Mediterranean routes, as well as the Balkan route.

In total, 156,000 refugees and migrants arrived in EU countries during the first nine months of this year, according to a new report by Frontex. That is 64% fewer than at the same time last year.

Simultaneously, the number of refugees and migrants who came to Spain doubled during the first nine months of this year, increasing by 14,800, compared to the same period last year.


©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today