“The Schengen agreement makes it easy for criminals to come to Norway,” she told newspaper Klassekampen.
“We have to take control over our own borders,” said Klinge, whose party is a junior partner in the three-party red-green coalition government.
In an ongoing national debate over the rights of Roma people living in Norway, Klinge has emerged as a vocal supporter of a ban on begging. But she now wants go a step further and has urged Norway to replace the Schengen agreement with a Nordic border union.
“We know human trafficking is behind at least part of the begging we see on the streets. The reintroduction of passport checks around the Nordic region would be a much more effective way of enabling us to keep out people who are involved in criminal networks,” said Klinge, who sits on the parliament’s justice committee.
Klinge said the situation requires urgent attention since Bulgaria and Romania are set to join Schengen this autumn.
“That’s when their problems managing their borders will become our problems. If and when those countries join Schengen it will become very difficult for Norwegian police to handle the organized crime that we know will come.”
She stressed that her calls for tighter borders were not a result of a growth in Norway’s Roma population but were instead a reaction to a general rise in criminality stemming from Eastern European countries.
The pan-European Schengen Area allows for checkpoint-free travel within its 26 member states. Romania and Bulgaria are set to join the border union in September this year at the earliest, pending ratification from the European Council.