The minority socialist “SV” party is pushing for amendments to Norway’s EU agreement to allow Norway to take control of refugee numbers, and have the power to block immigrants, such as Norway’s most popular arrivals – the Polish.

image Bergen night cityscape

Polish are pining for the fjords

The party is small but in the current climate of rising unemployment, economic downturn, and influx of refugees, what it’s saying is being listened to.

Economy down

World oil prices are low at the moment, and as one of Norway’s biggest exports, it’s bringing down their economy with it. The Norwegian Kronor has weakened, unemployment is up, and consumer purchasing is down. The pressure may require budgetary changes.

It’s not the best economic timing for an increase in refugees. Even the former Yugoslavia is asking for admittance for more than a hundred people per day.

The ideas for budget cuts from the socialist SV are causing a stir in both Norweigians and Polish residents of Norway alike. While they are a small party at only 7 members of 169, they have been part of the previous coalition government.

To a tense situation on the labour market, we are committed to discuss how we can ensure and secure decent work for people. You need to enable refugees in the labour market, to create a good policy for all. Limiting the influx of economic migrants is one of the possible solutions.

Kirsti Bergstø spoke to the newspaper “Klassekampen” 11 Nov, she is part of a parliamentary Committee on employment and Social Affairs. The group would like to see an amendment clause in the Norway – EU agreement allowing for more control over immigration numbers, including EU citizens, and including the power to halt immigration altogether.

Poles make up the largest immigrant group in Norway at 96,000 legally registered, followed by Lithuanians a distant second with 40,000.

The social feedback from the locals seems to be mainly objecting to the lumping together of a Norweigian speaking immigrant, paying taxes, and an immigrant from Africa with no ties or language skills.

A lecturer at the Norwegian School of economics in Bergen asks rhetorically on a social networking site:

Get rid of people who have the expertise, experience and above all want to work in order to make room for people from Africa, who are only beginning to learn Norwegian? Absurd!

Bad for the economy

The level of unemployment in Norway is increasing dramatically. For several years, it remained stable at a level of between 3-3.5%, but in recent months, shot up to 4.6%. 128,000 are out of work, of which foreigners are over-represented.

In an environment of immigrants the possibility of job loss is statistically three times higher than among ethnic Norwegians. However, according to many, the Poles have too good a reputation to fear the government will change its policy.

The latest idea SV is not to be taken seriously. Gain on support from other political parties, even those populist, because it doesn’t sound serious. It’s not even about the negative reaction of the Polish environment, because it has in Norway still relatively little clout, but the opposition the same Norwegians who realize that it sounds like economic harakiri. Reasonably minded Norwegians would be hard to convince, and it’s incompatible with international law.
Implementation of this idea and as a thought experiment, imagine the next Monday without the Poles. In such a situation, some industries would be paralyzed.

– Aleksandra f. Eriksen for Virtual Polish, living for many years in Norway, Chairman of the Board of the Polish business Connection, which specializes in helping immigrants in dealing with matters in local offices.

How to pay for refugees?

13,246 refugees arrived in the last nine months, mainly from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea. Refugees make up 3.6% of the population, and non-Norwegian, 11%.
Over the last week the government has been pondering how to cope with the refugees, how to fund a two-year programme covering housing them, education, civic and spending money.

It’s not the first and won’t be the last controversial idea of Norwegian politicians.
Difficult economic times cause a hotbed of controversial solutions. Not that the Poles haven’t already heard this in Norway, and I only hope that the ideas have gone into oblivion when the situation stabilises.

– Eriksen
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