Norway PM pushes tougher refugee laws

Sept. 3, 2008 at 2:40 PM
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OSLO, Norway, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg says he wants to put the brakes on a rising tide of refugees entering the country by making it harder to win asylum.

Stoltenberg and fellow Labor Party member, Immigration Minister Dag Terje Andersen, said it had become "necessary to limit the number of asylum seekers who have no need for protection," the newspaper Aftenposten reported Wednesday.

With 6,500 would-be refugees arriving in Norway last year and around 15,000 expected in 2008, Stoltenberg and Andersen contend the country of 4.5 million is having trouble absorbing them all and unveiled a plan to tighten asylum policies, the newspaper said.

Under the proposal, all future cases would be handled individually even if an applicant comes from a troubled country.

Reaction from the coalition partners of the Socialist Party was one of shock, Aftenposten said, but party officials said they weren't considering leaving the government because of it.

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