Wednesday

25th Apr 2018

Austria drafts anti-asylum law

  • Austria is a main transit country for asylum seekers hoping to reach Germany (Photo: Alice Latta)

Austria has finalised a draft law to prevent asylum applications once an upper limit has been reached.

The government earlier this year introduced an annual 37,500 cap. The so-called emergency decree finalised on Tuesday (6 September) would prevent most people from applying for asylum once that threshold is met.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The controversial law is set for a parliament vote in about a month following a review. It is likely to pass.

The move aims to further curb asylum claims over broader fears of a repeat from last year when almost 90,000 applicants were filed in the country. Around 29,000 applications have been filed in the first seven months of this year.

Der Standard, an Austrian daily, also reported that some 2,200 soldiers could be deployed at the borders should refugees arrive en masse.

Austria's self-imposed cap was followed by a closure of the so-called Western Balkan route earlier this year. The border closures stranded more than 50,000 people in Greece.

Austria had also initiated plans to erect a barrier along the Brenner Pass with Italy over the summer but halted construction following widespread protest.

Border security and guards have since been stepped up on the Italian side of the Brenner Pass.

Austria has largely served as a transit country for people hoping to lodge asylum claims in Germany. Some 700,000 passed through last year. It is still, however, one of five main destination countries in the EU for first time applicants.

But broader concerns over asylum and immigration have underpinned striking gains by the country's far-right Freedom Party's (FPO).

FPO's Norbert Hofer is leading polls ahead of a presidential run-off on 2 October.

Austria's tough asylum law follows similar measures proposed in Hungary and Denmark.

Some 10,000 Hungarian police and soldiers patrol long stretches of razor-wire fencing along the border with Serbia.

The troops escort asylum seeker caught within 8km of the fence back to the Serbian side of the 175km border following a law passed by the Hungarian government in July.

In late August, Hungary's government had also announced it would erect a second fence on the Serb border alongside the existing one.

Denmark in late August had also floated a plan to grant police the powers to turn back asylum seekers at its borders, if deemed necessary.

Some 21,000 people had applied for asylum in Denmark in 2015. Those figures have since dropped sharply. Around 4,700 have registered this year so far.

In January, the Danish government had also passed a law that would allow authorities to confiscate valuables from arriving asylum seekers and refugees.

Balkan leaders pledge to keep out migrants

Balkan leaders said in New York there would be no repetition of last year's mass influx of refugees, as the EU prepares to launch a new border force to keep people out.

France tightens immigration law, sparking division

French lawmakers are cracking down on asylum seekers in a bid to send those rejected back home. Controversial measures they passed over the weekend will now be debated in the French senate in June.

Opinion

Calling time on European-Turkish strategic relations

With an Erdogan-Putin summit on Tuesday, joined by Iran on Wednesday, it is time for Europe to face facts - Turkey's ties with the West are no longer strategic. When Europe goes hither, Turkey deliberately goes thither.

EU mulls coercion to get refugee kids' fingerprints

EU policy and law makers are ironing out final details of a legislative reform on collecting the fingerprints of asylum seekers and refugees, known as Eurodac. The latest plan includes possibly using coercion against minors, which one MEP calls "violence".

News in Brief

  1. Far-right attack migrants on Greek island
  2. Merkel defends accepting UN refugees
  3. EU commissioner plans Malta 'money laundering' inspection
  4. Survey: Half of high polluting farms receive CAP subsidies
  5. Commission will 'not shy away' from Malta killing repercussions
  6. EU Commission opens probe on Alitalia state loan
  7. Paris suspect given 20-year sentence for Brussels shoot-out
  8. Merkel and Pena Nieto praise EU-Mexico trade agreement

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  3. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  4. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  6. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  7. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  8. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  9. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  10. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  11. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight

Latest News

  1. Juncker delays air quality action due to busy agenda
  2. Spain makes bid for EU naval HQ
  3. How Russian propaganda depicts Europe - should we worry?
  4. MEPs tell Chinese ambassador of concerns on trade
  5. Greenland votes with eye on independence
  6. EU court delivers blow to anti-abortion activists
  7. Hungary activists defiant after 'Soros Mercenaries' attack
  8. European Commission proposes whistleblower protection law