The Liberals breaks with partners on day 1

Police LiberalsPolice Immigration Detention Centre on Trandum at Gardermoen in Jessheim.: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix

The Liberals breaks with partners on day 1

The Liberals parted with Government partners the Conservatives and the Progress Party on the very first occasion when Parliament on Thursday considered proposals on asylum returns.


The Liberals (V), Socialist Party (SV) and Christian Democrats (KrF) want an independent expert committee to assess the security situation, regulations and practices for returning asylum seekers to Afghanistan. But when the Parliament votes on it later on Thursday, Labour and Centre Party will come to the rescue.

Nor does the proposal to reintroduce the so-called reasonableness for internally displaced persons from the Liberals, Socialist Party and Christian Democrats receive a majority. But Ketil Kjenseth (Liberals) does not think Thursday’s voting will led to bad blood between the three Government partners.

– This has been known for a long time, and the issues were finalized in the committee before the Liberals entered into Government, he tells NTB.

Big distance

The Asylum and Immigration policy is one of the conflict areas between the Liberals and the other Government partners, especially the Progress Party.

– In these matters we have clear political divergence. Liberalization will cause more people to stay and contribute to a “pull effect” towards Europe. Still, adults and children are making hazardous journeys, says case officer, Kristin Ørmen Johnsen (H), in her introduction during the parliamentary debate.

– It is sad that we spend so much time on various proposals from the opposition regarding providing groundless refugees a stay in Norway, says Jon Engen-Helgheim (Progress Party).

– I am very pleased that these proposals are being dismissed, says Minister of Justice and Immigration, Sylvi Listhaug (Progress Party), in her speech during the debate.

The Liberals promises to fight on

Socialist Party, Liberals and Christian Democrats, therefore, do not get a majority to reintroduce the condition of reasonability of so-called internal refugees, which implies that returns should not occur if it is unfair to refer the seeker to find refuge in other parts of the originating country than where he or she comes from.

The majority of the Parliament, with the Liberals in favour, made an urgent decision in November, which states that the so-called October children will reconsider have their cases reassessed based on vulnerability criteria. And here, the Liberals can make a difference in Government, says Kjenseth.

– The vulnerability criteria have not been submitted by the Government yet, we therefore look forward to negotiating with them regarding this,he says.

The ‘October Children’ are Afghans who came to Norway alone as minor asylum seekers in the autumn of 2015. They were granted stay until they became18 years of age when they could be returned as an internal refugees in Afghanistan.

Best of the children

If the other proposals fell, Socialist Party’s Karin Andersen could cash a small victory on the proposal that in matters relating to children, the decision should state how the best interests of children are considered.

Even the other Government parties, the Conservatives and Progress Party support this, and downplays the importance of this decision.

– We believe that this is the current practice and that it kicks open doors down, says Kristin Ørmen Johnsen (Conservatives).

It is apparent from the recommendation from the Municipal Committee that a system for monitoring of forced returns is in the pipeline. The task is to be delegated to the Supervisory Board for Trandum, but how many returns are to be followed up and what will be the Board’s mandate has not yet been clarified. A pilot scheme is scheduled for the first half of 2018.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today