Storskog Border has been used by migrants coming over from Russia
The move has sparking an outcry from refugees’ rights groups amid fears that cross-border ties between the former Cold War adversaries will be harmed.The government said a new gate and a fence, about 200 metres (660 feet) long and 3.5 metres high is needed near the Storskog border point in far-northern Norway to tighten security.
The erection of the fence, at a spot where 5,500 migrants mainly from Syria crossed into Norway last year, reflects a wider shift in public attitudes against refugees.
This is seen too in Sweden, Norway’s neighbour, which was once touted as a “humanitarian superpower”, but is setting up border controls this year and has toughened asylum rules.Refugee groups and some opposition politicians say Norway’s fence will deter people fleeing persecution and is an unwelcome echo of the Cold War in a region where relations have generally flourished since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
The fence will be erected in the coming weeks, before winter frosts set in, to make it harder to slip into Norway via a forest.
The Norwegian government said the new fence is needed to tighten securityWorkers have so far done some preparatory work, clearing away old wooden barriers put up to control reindeer herds.
There are too many fences going up in Europe today
Rune Rafaelsen, the mayor of the Soer-Varanger region
Deputy Justice Minister Ove Vanebo said, defending the move: “The gate and the fence are responsible measures.”Both Moscow and Oslo have cracked down on the Arctic route, one that a few refugees found less risky than