An increased influx of refugees and asylum seekers to Norway could increase the threat from right-wing extremists, the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) said on Thursday (24 September).
Tensions between right- and left-wing groups could also escalate in the wake of the refugee crisis, it added, but dismissed suggestions that Islamist militants could use the asylum system as a way of smuggling attackers into Europe.
The prospect of a revived threat from right-wing groups “is because resistance against immigration is one of their most pivotal causes and an important mobilisation factor for this environment”, the agency said in a statement.
Norway, a member of Europe’s free-movement Schengen area but not the European Union, expects to receive 16,000-20,000 asylum seekers this year.
Four years ago right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik detonated a car bomb in Oslo and gunned down Labour Party activists at a youth camp, killing 77 people in the worst acts of violence committed in Norway since World War Two.
European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said on Thursday that unless the migrant crisis in Europe was addressed properly there would be a surge of right-wing extremism across the continent.
>>Read: Fixing Europe’s Orbán problem
Echoing scepticism expressed by other intelligence services, including the Dutch AIVD on Thursday, the PST said it was unlikely that militant organisations like Islamic State were infiltrating fighters into Europe disguised as refugees.
“Asylum seekers connected to extreme Islamism is not a key worry for PST in the short term,” it said adding that in the longer term a few asylum seekers could become a threat as they belong to a group vulnerable to radicalisation.