Norwegians may once again have to show their passports at the Swedish border. Photo: Norwegian Government
The Norwegian government is considering introducing passport controls on its border with Sweden to bring the number of refugees entering the country under control.
Jøran Kallmyr, State Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, told Norway's Nettavisen new site that "increasing border controls" was "one of several measures that we are continuously considering."
Although Norway is not a member of the European Union, it is party to the Schengen agreement, which enables individuals to travel between 26 countries without border controls.
Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia all this week introduced temporary border controls, in an effort to gain control of a rapid rise in the number of refugees entering the country.
Hungary, meanwhile, has closed it main border crossing for refugees coming from Serbia.
EU ministers on Monday held emergency talks in Brussels over a European Commission plan to, amongst other measures, accept 120,000 more refugees this year, and allocate them between members states.
A leaked draft of the communiqué, seen by the Financial Times, accepted the Commission's proposal, but insisted that the scheme be voluntary rather than mandatory.
Germany expects to accept 800,000 refugees this year, by far the highest number of any European Union country.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said yesterday that the country expected to accept 15,000, nonetheless insisting that Norway was playing a leading role in Europe.
"If the stream of asylum seekers continues, perhaps 16,000-17000 asylum seekers will come this year. Let's say that 12,000 of them will stay. Along with 3,000 quota refugees we have a total of 15,000 refugees. They need to be settled in Norwegian municipalities," Solberg told Norway's Dagbladet
Paal Frisvold, chief executive of Brusselkontoret, which lobbies for Norwegian companies in the Europe Union, said that states that are part of Schengen can introduce border controls under certain conditions.
"It is in accordance with the agreement if there is a threat to national security, but it is a rather drastic political initiative," he said.