This week in Vienna, Austria and Greece once again demonstrated clear solidarity in immigration policy. Interior Minister Karl Nehamer (ÖVP) and Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis called on the EU Commission after a working meeting to speed up implementation of refugee return agreements and to abandon the “irrational distribution discussion,” Nehamer said in an interview with APA. . Criticism came from the FPÖ.
Mitrakis said there was a need for joint EU action on return agreements. Greece does not want to be the gateway through which immigration flows into Europe and then asks the EU to help take care of these people, but rather wants to do everything “up front” to prevent this. The issue of distribution can only be resolved if the relay flow stops. “If we can contain the crisis together, we will also be successful in managing distribution together,” Mitarakis said.
Nyhammer: ‘You should let numbers speak, not emotions’
For Niehmer, the question of voluntary admission of refugees does not arise because Austria accepts more asylum seekers than Italy. Italy has 15,000 asylum applications and Austria 8000 asylum applications this year. “This eliminates the issue of distribution in Austria. You should let the numbers speak, not the sentiment.”
The interior minister is interested in Greece’s plans to make Turkey a safe third country for the people of Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria and Bangladesh. This means that these people can no longer apply for asylum in Greece if they come from Turkey. Niemer also wants to take a closer look at the Danish model of asylum procedures outside the European Union and the opportunities for cooperation with third countries for people who cannot be returned to their countries of origin. He will travel to Denmark next week for this purpose.
He is considering a “set of solutions” for Austria. “We must be proactive,” the EU “must become significantly faster in implementing the joint proposals,” Focus on topics where there is agreement and put an end to the “irrational distribution discussion,” “we’re just wasting valuable time,” Nahamer said.
Turquoise-green differences in asylum and immigration are ‘part of the alliance’
Nahamer does not think there may be problems with the Green Alliance partner on this issue. “We in the coalition have agreed to take all measures in a manner consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the Geneva Convention on Refugees (GRC).” In the case of repatriation, for example, there are differences only about where one can return to and not about repatriation itself. When it comes to asylum and immigration, there will always be coalition differences, which is what makes this government special. That will be part of the alliance.” Solutions will be found based on international regulations. “Even the partner in the coalition has nothing against these measures.”
Neyhamer’s criticism came from the FPÖ on Sunday. “A few lively sayings here, a few excursions and PR photos – like the current photo with the Greek Migration Minister – there: the ÖVP and Interior Minister Nehamer seem to believe that their usual actions will replace real action and implement, the restrictive asylum and immigration policy,” said the FPÖ President Designated Herbert Kekel in a written statement to the APA. He also pointed out that Nahamer announced last year “a de facto freeze on asylum”. “In fact, the number of asylum applications rose for the first time since the wave of immigrants in 2015, and this year there are indications of another massive increase.” The goal should be “de facto zero asylum applications on Austrian territory or on the territory of the European Union”. In the European Union, applications should only be submitted by people who come from countries directly neighboring the European Union.
The president of the FPÖ Club cited the example of Denmark, which wants to set up asylum centers in third countries where asylum seekers are supposed to wait for their applications to be processed. “Nahamer & Co. should orient themselves to this.” Next week, the FPÖ intends to submit a similar proposal to the National Council, which will serve as an “acid test” for the ÖVP. Denmark’s proposed designation of parts of Syria as safe return countries as well as the Greek halting of asylum applications from some countries should also be included in the FP’s application. Kikel also criticized the fact that the labor agreement signed with Serbia in April 2019 (still under his supervision as Minister of the Interior), which provides for the accommodation of rejected asylum seekers in a deportation center in Serbia, has not been implemented. (Abba)
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