The former Norwegian government has brought forward a proposal to allocate an amount of NOK 250 million (€25,514,669) for the new European Union fund on border management and the common visa policy that intends to support the strengthening of Schengen Area external borders.
In a press release issued by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, it has been noted that on October 12, the now-former government proposed to allocate this amount for the Border Management and Visa Instrument (BMVI) of the EU, just ahead of the new government taking over.
The BMVI fund, which aims to collect an amount of 6.4 billion for the years 2021-27 mainly by the Member States through multiannual national programmes, has replaced the Internal Security Fund (ISF Fund), which has been the EU’s funding tool for the border and visa area since 2014.
The new fund intends to contribute to securing strong EU external borders, which according to the Commission, “in turn will allow the EU to maintain a Schengen area without internal border controls.”
Commenting on the proposal, the former Norwegian Minister of Justice and Emergency Management Monica Mæland noted that as a Schengen country, Norway is a contributor to the strengthening of Schengen Area borders, including through funds.
At the same time, she noted that the funds the member countries pay to the fund go directly to measures that increase security both at home and abroad in Europe.
“The fund scheme shall, in particular, support the safeguarding of Schengen’s external borders and contribute to the further development of a common visa policy through solidary redistribution of funds. Norway, together with the other Schengen countries, contributes to the financing of the fund. At the same time, Norway receives funding from the fund scheme for its own projects,” she explained.
According to the former Justice Minister, throughout the next years, Norway will annually receive funding from the EU through the BMVI fund and will use the same for national border and visa projects in the fields of justice, transport and defence.
“Norway will continue to be a contributor to security at Schengen’s external borders. It again increases security in Norway,” Mæland further stated.
Setting up the budget for 2022, the former government has also proposed to allocate over NOK 300 million (€30,639,570) for the development and implementation of international Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems in the police and the Directorate of Immigration (UDI).
The allocation of this amount is part of the Schengen membership obligations and aims to increase information sharing and facilitate data exchange for European police cooperation, migration control, and visas.
The proposals are yet to be approved by the new government, which was presented today by the new Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, and consists of ten women and nine men. The place of the former Minister of Justice Monica Mæland will now be occupied by Emilie Enger Mehl, who is at the same time Norway’s youngest-ever Minister of Justice at the age of 28.