Migration a hot topic in Austria as asylum applications rise ‘dramatically’

Migration a hot topic in Austria as asylum applications rise ‘dramatically’

Migration issues have long dominated Austrian politics and contribute to the historically high presence of the extreme right in politics. With the easing of travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the outbreak of new conflicts, the country is experiencing a new surge in refugee numbers.

The country has registered 68,800 migrants and 440 smugglers since it launched its anti-smuggling operation in May.

The number of asylum seekers has increased “dynamic, spectacular”, explained Interior Minister Gerhard Karner. He also highlighted the 2,500 special investigations that have been conducted since May.

The initiative initially aimed to combat human trafficking and “Asylum Abuse”. In 2021, authorities had located a total of 441 smugglers, while in 2020 around 330 had been arrested.

In the meantime, 56,000 people have applied for asylum in Austria. Most numerous are refugees from Afghanistan (12,000), followed by Syrians (10,000). Mr. Karner regrets the large number of Indians and Tunisians (15,000) who have little chance of their asylum applications being accepted.

At the political level, the situation is becoming increasingly explosive, as shown by the meeting between Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in early October.

“Until the EU intervenes with effective measures, we have to help ourselves. That’s why Austria is doing everything to protect itself.”explained Mr. Nehammer.

“This would imply future actions in cooperation with Serbia and Hungary, because if the Serbian and Hungarian borders are protected, so is our own border.”he noticed.

The Freedom Party of Austria or Austrian Liberal Party (Austrian Freedom PartyFPÖ), an Austrian far-right party, has singled out the government.

“Apparently the interior minister is only now recognizing the seriousness of the situation. But where are the conclusions and the actions? »commented Michael Gruber, spokesman for the FPÖ Upper Austria for security.

Reference: www.euractiv.fr

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