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Majority of Austrians 'support border fence'
Refugees in Spielfeld, Styria. File photo: APA

Majority of Austrians 'support border fence'

The Local · 11 Dec 2015, 12:03

Published: 11 Dec 2015 12:03 GMT+01:00

85 percent of respondents to a survey carried out by Linz-based polling institute IMAS said that they were in favour of border controls in Austria and wanted all EU countries to agree on refugee quotas.

IMAS questioned almost 1,000 Austrians over the age of 16 about Austria’s current refugee policy. 69 percent said they were not satisfied with the approach and wanted to see more decisions being made at EU level. 56 percent said that the EU should be working to resolve the conflicts in the war zones that refugees are fleeing from - through military force, if necessary.

Two thirds of those questioned said they were in favour of a hiring freeze for asylum seekers. 62 percent said they thought it was best that refugees be accommodated in large asylum quarters and only four percent said that they would agree to take a refugee into their home for three months.

70 percent of respondents thought that refugees should only be granted ‘temporary’ asylum, with the option to send them back to their own country once the war was over.

In a statement IMAS said the results confirm “that overall people have a feeling of helplessness and of being overwhelmed by the refugee situation”. It added that people were afraid of radical Islam, of an increase in violence and crime, and the effect on the labour market.

Economic boost

However, latest figures from the Austrian National Bank show that the number of refugees who have travelled to and through Austria has had a positive effect on the country and actually resulted in economic growth of 0.2 percentage points.

Story continues below…

By the end of 2017 that figure is expected to increase to 0.7 percentage points. In contrast, the government's tax reform is only expected to bring economic growth of 0.5 percentage point in the next two years. 

Austria expects a record 95,000 asylum claims this year, making it one of the highest per capita recipients in Europe.

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