Jøran Kallmyr, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice, believes EU countries are all coming under pressure. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix
“Many EU countries are now experiencing the challenge that people evade detection, and it is difficult for the authorities to have an overview of all the refugees who have arrived,” Jøran Kallmyr, a Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice, said on Friday evening, after Finland’s Interior Minister criticised Sweden for doing too little to prevent refugee coming through.
“Through my contact with Sweden, they confirm that they are prepared to comply with the Schengen commitments and their obligations under international law,” he added.
Norway’s newspapers on Friday argued that Sweden was following Denmark’s example and no longer forcing refugees to register in the country if they wanted to move on to Finland or Norway.
“It is important to emphasise that we do not force anyone to give up fingerprints or seek asylum in Sweden,” Rexhep Hajirizi, an emergency coordinator with the Swedish Migration Agency in Malmö, was quoted as saying by the NTB newswire.
Finland’s interior minister Petteri Orpo on Thursday night criticised Sweden because its national train company SJ had allowed refugees to travel by train through into Finland without checking documents.
“It cannot be that Sweden, as an EU member, a Schengen country and a Dublin country, is such that its oversight of foreigners dies not work in the way that it has agreed it should,” Orpo said.
Kallemyr was very clear that Norway expected Sweden to continue upholding the Dublin rules.
“Under the Dublin system, it is envisaged that asylum seekers should not be sent from one country to another, and it is not up to the asylum seekers to decide which Schengen country they want to seek asylum in,” he said.
Norway’s Justice Minister Anders Amundsen will travel to Brussels on Monday for an emergency meeting on the refugee crisis.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg warned in a debate on Friday that the government should have “ice in its stomach” during the negotiations on how to distribute the 160,000 refugees the European Commission believe will need to be settled across the union this year.
“I do not think that it is prudent for the Norwegian asylum system and Norwegian municipalities to say that no matter how many people are coming to Norway, we’ll take a little bit more,” she said. “Now we need some ice in the stomach.”
She said Norway was receiving near record numbers of asylum seekers, with some 700 coming to Norway last week.
“Norway is a generous country. We are contributing a great national effort,” she said.
Norwegian volunteer groups are following the example of Swedes and Danes who have helped refugees travel across borders without registering with the authorities, something police warned was a criminal offence.
“To carry people across the border without valid travel documents is considered human smuggling,” police lawyer John Skarpeid said on Friday after four Norwegians were charged for human trafficking on Thursday.