Press release | No: 82 – 2023 | Date: 19/10/2023 | Ministry of Justice and Public Security
On Thursday, 19 October, Minister of Justice and Public Security Emilie Enger Mehl participated in the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg. Among others, the agenda included measures to strengthen the EU’s security in light of the terrorist attack in Brussels, the situation in the Middle East, internal security and migration in Europe, and other important discussions on asylum and migration.
‘Safety and public security are the top priorities of this Government. There is a lot of tension in Europe and around our borders, with war, terrorism and criminal networks. It is important to Norway that all countries take responsibility for security within the Schengen area and that we effectively deport people who may be a threat to us,’ Justice and Public Security Minister Emilie Enger Mehl (Centre Party) said.
During the meeting, the ministers also discussed the extent to which the situation in Israel and Gaza impacts security in Europe, and on Thursday, it was decided to establish a cooperation forum to observe the consequences of the crisis, and to support rapid and coordinated decision-making - the Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR). Norway will participate.
‘Domestically, we must be inclusive, and prevent violence and conflicts being projected onto us. Both Israelis, Palestinians and others, who may be closely affected by the horrific violence in the Middle East, live in Norway. Tensions in other parts of the world test us, but we must protect our open society and safeguard everyone,’ Minister of Justice and Public Security Emilie Enger Mehl said.
The Schengen area was on the agenda. According to the EU, more than one million people were living illegally in the EU in 2022. Several countries have introduced temporary border control at internal borders, for example, France, Germany and Austria. Norway will continue its temporary border control at ferry ports.
‘Everything starts at the borders. If more countries have external border control and control over who is entering, it will prevent terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking and dangerous escape routes across the Mediterranean Sea,’ Mehl said.
‘Norway has spent billions on external border control, and deportation is a high priority. We deport people who are living here illegally and those who may be a threat to national security. There are too many illegal migrants in the Schengen area who can freely travel around. If Schengen is to be safe and open, all countries in Schengen must prioritise external border control and deportation,’ Mehl said.
‘We cannot allow criminal human traffickers to decide who will come to Europe. The Government is strengthening its efforts against organised crime networks, and international cooperation is necessary in order to fight trafficking networks,’ Minister of Justice and Public Security Emilie Enger Mehl said.