“Today, I have met my European colleagues to make sure we maintain control over our external borders. Norway is part of the European cooperation. This also means that our countries will help each other during major crises. In order to help Greek authorities, Norway has used the Foreign Ministry’s funds for humanitarian aid to provide beds, mattresses and tents from the Norwegian Civil Defence’s stock. Frontex has also asked for expertise to help with document control, identification and interviews. We will contribute with this too,” said Minister of Justice and Public Security Monica Mæland.
According to Greek authorities, there is a pressing need for tents, first aid equipment and sanitary facilities. Several countries have offered possible contributions, including Sweden, Denmark, Finland and France.
“It is important to make these kinds of stand-alone contributions in order to address the urgent humanitarian needs among vulnerable migrants,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
“The support is in addition to the considerable support Norway provides in other areas, not least through the EEA Grants. We recently contributed NOK 350 million to help Greek authorities expand their systems for treating asylum applications, and this was especially targeted at helping vulnerable groups and unaccompanied minors,” Ms Eriksen Søreide said.
The new Norwegian contribution comprises 500 bunkbeds, 1 500 mattresses and 10 tents. These are provisions that the Norwegian Civil Defence stocks in case of crises similar to the one that arose around the arrival of migrants across the Russian border with Norway in 2015.
The situation on the border between Turkey and Greece could lead to a major need for beds and sanitation equipment on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Samos and Chios, as well as along the border with Turkey.
Norwegian authorities are following developments closely, and will of course contribute as much as is possible.
“In 2015, borders inside Europe were to a large extent open. This is not the case today, and that is why people and families might pay large sums of money to human smugglers and set out on the dangerous journey towards Europe,” said Ms Mæland