Saturday

26th May 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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund

The European Commission wants to triple the amount of money for migration in the next EU budget. Earlier this week, EU agencies, NGOs, and the mayor of Athens gave their views at a European parliament public hearing.

Opinion

Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny

Most refugee-related services are outsourced to the private sector and NGOs, which are not adequately monitored and evaluated. When governments and EU institutions provide funding for refugee projects, they should scrutinise the NGOs and private players they work with.

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.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach