18th Mar 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.

Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant

Niger has temporarily stopped all evacuations from Libya detention centres under an EU funded programme because so few are being resettled to Europe. Many of those that have been evacuated are pregnant, with some asking for HIV testing.

EU billions had 'limited' effect in Turkey, audit finds

The EU got "limited" effect for the €9bn it spent trying to modernise Turkey in recent years, auditors have said. Turkey has been "backsliding" on reforms since 2013 due to "lack of political will", the European Court of Auditors found.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere