The European Union has written a letter to the Norwegian government demanding that the Scandinavian country take in more migrants from Africa under the bloc’s migrant redistribution scheme.
The letter, written by EU immigration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos to Norwegian Immigration Minister Sylvi Listhaug, demands the country take in more migrants asking Norway to be “as ambitious as possible”. The demand comes after the United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR, requested the EU to help redistribute 40,000 migrants from Africa, Dagbladet reports.
EU immigration commissioner Avramopoulos described the content of the letter, which was also sent to other EU member states, saying: “In the letter, I asked them to be as ambitious as possible, and I specifically asked them to increase efforts to accept quota refugees from North Africa and the Horn of Africa.”
The programme is part of a new initiative by the EU to take migrants directly from Africa rather than allow them to come across the Mediterranean. The German government has already negotiated with Egypt to have a migrant reception centre opened in the North African country which will determine the legitimacy of asylum claims before the migrants are allowed to travel on to Europe.
The French government under President Emmanuel Macron has also begun talks with several African countries including Libya where they also intend to set up asylum seeker reception centres. Macron was slammed by critics earlier this year after commenting that the migrant crisis stemming from Africa was related to the very high birth rates of African women.
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After a journalist from the Ivory Coast asked Macron if he thought a large scale investment, similar to the post-World War Two Marshall Plan, would help Africa he said: “The Marshall Plan was a reconstruction plan, a material plan [for a stable region],” and added: “The problems Africa faces are completely different … and are civilisational.”
While so far no EU member states have approved or rejected the proposal from Mr. Avramopoulos, it is likely that Poland and Hungary will refuse as they have refused to take in any redistributed migrants so far.
The Hungarian and Slovak governments launched an appeal claiming the redistribution agreement was illegal as it did not have the consent of all member states, but the appeal was rejected by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) earlier this month.
Despite the ECJ ruling, both Hungary and Poland have both maintained their stance and continue to reject the migrant redistribution scheme.