Austria speaks out against German efforts

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The initiative by Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) in European asylum policy has met with sharp criticism from her Austrian counterpart.

Berlin/Vienna – Anyone who, like Faeser, wants to forge a “coalition of member states willing to accept them” for asylum seekers is sending out the completely wrong signals, Austria’s Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP) told the “Bild” (Tuesday). “I speak out clearly against such efforts.” Such an alliance awakens false expectations in the countries of origin.

Instead, Karner pleaded with the newspaper to form “alliances of reason”. When it comes to migration, the EU should concentrate on those issues on which there is consensus. These are robust external border protection, fast procedures and consistent returns.

Austria has been pursuing a restrictive migration policy for many years. Like Germany, the country is one of the main destinations for immigrants, who, according to the authorities, often come for economic reasons. In 2021, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office, 40,000 people were arrested in Austria who had crossed the national borders illegally and sometimes with the help of smugglers, almost twice as many as in the previous year.

After a meeting with EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson in Berlin last Friday, Faeser said that a “coalition of receptive member states” could go ahead and thus initiate the further development of the European asylum system. Her first talks with France and Italy on migration issues had been promising. (dpa)

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