Germany is this weekend seeing whether or not Angela Merkel will be able to form a government as she deals with the political fallout from her immigration policy. Quite a contrast from Norway, whose Conservative-led coalition recently entered its second term – after taking a very different approach to refugees. Last week I met Sylvi Listhaug, who holds a recently-created position: Norway’s Minister for Immigration & Integration. She’s with the Progress Party, the junior partner in coalition. You often read about her being ‘outspoken’ or ‘controversial’ and I was interested to see what kind of radical views she holds. At the end of the interview, I was left wondering if her take on refugee policy is actually further-sighted and more morally defensible than the Merkel approach.
Norway’s approach has been different from the offset. When Sweden accepted 160,000 asylum-seekers in 2015, the Norwegians took in 30,000 – and this year, so far, it’s 2,000. No country has seen a sharper fall in refugees. In her interview, she outlined the following elements of the Norwegian model.