A local Progress Party leader said it is "only fair and reasonable" to use refugees' valuables to cover their expenses. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix
At the annual meeting of local Progress Party leaders in Troms, it was proposed that asylum seekers should be stripped of valuable exceeding 10,000 kroner in order to help finance their stay in Norway.
“If we think about the elderly who move into an institution, where we take up to 85 percent of their income to finance [the stay], it is only fair and reasonable that we would also collect money from those who come with a lot of it,” party spokesman Geir Are Winther told broadcaster NRK.
The proposal is similar to one in Denmark
that will allow Danish authorities to seize asylum seekers' cash exceeding 10,000 kroner (1,340 euros, $1,450), as well as any individual items valued at more than 10,000 kroner. Wedding rings and other items of sentimental value are exempt.
The Danish plan is expected to formally pass parliament this week despite intense criticism
from international media, human rights groups and even voices within government party Venstre. Some critics have even made comparisons to the practices of Nazi Germany.
Kristine Larsen from the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) told NRK she was shocked by the suggestion that Norway should take valuables from arriving asylum seekers.
“What frightens me is that this is a cold gust from the past that we’ve actually experienced before with the Jews and others who were stripped of their belongings not so long ago,” she told NRK.
The Progress Party meeting also called for a ban to crossing the Norwegian border by bicycle and a suspension of the Schengen agreement.
“The Schengen agreement has been proven to not work. We must accept the consequences of that,” spokesman Per-Willy Amundsen told NRK.