I noticed a couple of things when reading this article:
|1.||Inevitability. These foreigners must be taken in. It is our duty to accept them and assist them. We have no choice in the matter.|
|2.||The abandonment of the localities. The local governments and police departments are mandated to accomplish the resettlement of the asylum seekers, but are denied the resources to do their jobs. The central government is saying to them, in effect, “Tough luck, guys — you’re on your own in this one.”|
If Norway were a normal country, a revolution from below would already have occurred.
In his cover note accompanying the translation, The Observer had this to say about the situation:
As you can see in this article, the UDI (Norwegian Immigration Department) are expecting 15,000 asylum seekers to arrive in Norway this year alone. Now, if you take into consideration that the population of Norway is approximately 4.7 million people, and that the population of the USA is approximately 304 million people (according to Wikipedia), this means that if the same percentage of asylum seekers were to head for the USA, the number would be close to 970,000 people.
Can you imagine 970,000 asylum seekers arriving each year in the USA, with the American taxpayer having to foot the bill?
The UDI have already found accommodation for 4,000 asylum seekers so far this year, and they are expecting to find an additional 5,000 to 7,000 by the end of the year.
Again, if this had happened in the USA, the number of accommodations/beds for these asylum seekers would be almost 710,000.
How long can this go on?
And here’s his translation of the article:
The massive increase of asylum seekers arriving in Norway is causing major headaches for Norwegian municipalities.
Despite increased funding from the Norwegian Government, several Norwegian municipalities are facing financial difficulties due to the increased pressure put on their welfare services, caused by a major influx of new asylum seekers arriving in their communities
The influx of new asylum seekers has continued at a steady pace during the summer months. On average 30 new asylum seekers arrived in Norway every day in the first six months of 2008, and more are expected. The number of new asylum seekers has thus far reached 6,000 individuals, compared to 2,600 individuals a year ago, according to figures released by the UDI.
– – – – – – – – –
Tønsberg municipality has been ordered to find new accommodation for 50 asylum seekers. Tønsberg Mayor Per Arne Olsen (FRP/ Progress Party) predicts that this will cause major capacity problems for the municipality, even though the State Governmental grants for asylum seekers were raised on the 1st of July this year.
“We are talking about a huge strain being put on our welfare services in a very short period of time, and this will cause problems. It is one thing receiving x amount of money per asylum seeker from the UDI, but it’s a totally different thing having to expand the welfare services, hire qualified staff, and find suitable premises where these services can be conducted,” Olsen says to the NTB (Norwegian News Service Agency)
Only covers half of the costs
The FRP Mayor can reveal that the local department responsible for teaching asylum seekers has to use temporary site offices as classrooms, and that the PP-service, the child protection agency and the local health department have all voiced their concerns regarding this latest influx of asylum seekers.
“It’s easy for the staff of the UDI to sit in their offices in Oslo and come up with rough estimates of how much it is going to cost to find new accommodation for these people, but money alone can’t solve this problem when the capacity in the affected communities has reached the breaking point,” Olsen says.
The deputy Mayor of Tønsberg, told Dagbladet (Norwegian newspaper) on Tuesday that estimates carried out by the municipality’s own people clearly show that the Government grants only cover half of the costs associated with this latest increase of asylum seekers into their community
Agnar Kaarbø, public spokesman for the UDI, is sympathetic to the concerns voiced by the various municipalities regarding the dramatic increase in numbers of asylum seekers, but feels that the new increase in funding should be sufficient to cover the additional costs in finding new accommodations for these asylum seekers.
“Some municipalities have contacted us and expressed their concerns, but others have told us that they have the capacity to take on more asylum seekers. The influx of asylum seekers to Norway is at the moment at an all-time high, and it is a national responsibility for us to accept them and look after them. We do inform the municipalities on a regular basis about the need to build new asylum centers, but we realize that this information may in some cases have been unsatisfactory,” Kaarbø says to the NTB.
The police departments’ needs must also be met
A decision was recently made to build new asylum centers in nine different Norwegian cities. In Andøya in Vesterålen [small community in Northern Norway] the newly proposed asylum center will be built 150 kilometers away from the nearest police station. In an interview with NRK (Norwegian broadcasting Corporation) on Tuesday, Elisabeth Aspaker, a member of the Norwegian Justice committee representing Høyre [the Conservatives] described this as unacceptable from a security perspective.
The Chairman of the Norwegian Police Union, Arne Johannesen, demands that the affected police departments get an increase in resources from the government when new asylum centers are built in their areas, or when existing centers are being expanded.
“As of today there are no such guarantees. A more suitable solution would be to allow for extra funding for those police departments which simply can’t cope with the increased work load that new asylum centers represent,” Johannesen says to the NTB.
An increase in resources should be automatic
The police union boss stresses that the police are not only dealing with issues of crime when it comes to asylum centers.
“An asylum center may take up a lot of the local police department’s resources, and this puts a huge pressure on the police,” he says.
Anne Marit Bjørnflaten (Labour Party), Chairman of the Justice committee, points out that the police branch responsible for dealing with asylum seekers was allocated an additional 40 million kroner in the revised national budget, to cope with the increasing numbers of asylum seekers arriving in Norway.
“It is only natural that the establishment of a new asylum center, like the one proposed in Andøya, will lead to an increase in resources for the police. But in the end it’s up to the local chief of police to manage his staff in such a way that the local security is not compromised and that the current status quo is maintained, even with the distances we’re dealing with in this case,” she says to the NTB.
Postscript — some figures:
- Governmental funding to municipalities where the UDI (Norwegian Immigration Department) are establishing asylum centers.
- 392,000 kroner a year per asylum center.
- 4,200 kroner a year per ordinary resident.
- 11,100 kroner a year per single underage resident.
- Four out of the 61 national asylum centers have been classified as specialized centers, catering for asylum seekers with special needs. For these centers the municipalities are paid 102,000 kroner a year per resident.
- In addition to this the UDI are financing several health clinics around the country looking after asylum seekers. As of today there are 61 asylum centers in Norway. UDI have so far this year managed to establish an additional 4,000 new beds/accommodations for these asylum seekers, and are planning to establish another 5,000 to 7,000 beds/accommodations by the end of the year.