Austria Wants to Make It Impossible for Asylum Seekers to Apply for Status on EU Soil
The right-wing government of EU member Austria will try to change the migration policy of the European Union so that it would be impossible for migrants to seek asylum on EU soil.
Austria took over the rotating Presidency of the European Council from Bulgaria on July 1, 2018, and is set to preside over the Union for the next six months.
The proposal to make it impossible for asylum seekers to apply for status recognition as such once they have made it to the EU comes from Austria’s Interior Minister Herbert Kickl from the far-right Freedom Party (FPOE), a junior partner in the right-wing Cabinet of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
“That would be a proposal,” the minister of the far-right FPOE party told journalists in Vienna, as cited by AFP.
“[Any other solution] would encourage traffickers to say: ‘I take your money to bring you to the European Union because you are guaranteed the right to make a request for asylum, with a very, very weak probability of being sent back'”, Kickl argued.
Austria’s present position as holder of the rotating EU Presidency empowers it to influence the agenda of the European Union which is presently overwhelmed with debates on the ongoing migration crisis.
Under the policy change now proposed by Austria, asylum requests would be made in refugee camps outside Europe.
The requests will be submitted to “a sort of mobile commission,” in Kickl’s wording.
The only potential asylum seekers that will be allowed to apply for asylum on EU territory will be exiles from countries that directly border the European Union.’
Migration and asylum rights will be on the agenda of a meeting of EU interior ministers on Thursday in Austria’s Innsbruck.
Kickl intends to offer to his colleagues the establishment of “return centers” in willing countries outside the EU.
These “return centers” will be supposed to host people that have been refused asylum by the EU but could not be immediately sent back to their home country.
Austria’s proposed changes to asylum rules in the EU now announced by its Interior Minister were outlined in a draft document of the Austrian EU Presidency dated earlier this month, with the local press leaking information about it over the past several days.
“A lot of the [asylum seekers] are particularly drawn to ideologies that are hostile to freedom or which are prone to violence,” says the document.
It argues that asylum should be granted only to “those who respect the values of the EU and its rights and fundamental liberties”.
Last week, as the German Cabinet came up with a compromise supposed to toughen up measures against allowing in migrants, Austria’s leadership represented by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Interior Minister Herbert Kickl, and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache declared it would “take measure to protect” the country’s southern border (which it shares with Italy and Slovenia) if the German government deal went into effect.
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