• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Austrian leaders rethink open door policy for refugees
Refugees arriving in Vienna last year. File photo: Kim Traill

Austrian leaders rethink open door policy for refugees

The Local · 18 Jan 2016, 16:43

Published: 18 Jan 2016 16:43 GMT+01:00

Foreign and integration minister Sebastian Kurz has said the crisis has overwhelmed both the EU and Austria and that plans to increase border controls will be high on the summit's agenda.

A spokesman for Chancellor Werner Faymann said that the aim now is to "significantly reduce" the total number of refugees entering Austria.

Kurz has said that countries like Austria will have to act in their own best interests because no consensus has been reached at the EU level, with many Eastern and Central European countries rejecting calls for refugee quotas. He added that frontline countries such as Greece have failed to secure the EU's external borders.

The Catholic Church in Austria has criticised moves to limit the number of refugees entering the country, with Cardinal Christoph Schönborn saying that "we cannot solve all the problems, but we can help, and we can help more than we realise". He appealed to Austrians to show more understanding for the plight of the refugees.

Last year Austria became a major transit country for hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees entering the European Union, with most travelling onwards to reach Germany or Sweden. However, 90,000 people stayed and applied for asylum in Austria.

Speaking in Brussels, Kurz said that Austria cannot be expected to take in a similar amount in 2016 and called for a change in policy. "I am firmly convinced that a policy of open doors and the belief that we could accommodate everyone in Europe was absolutely the wrong approach," he said, adding that many were now “rethinking” this. 

Story continues below…

Meanwhile, the president of the European Court of Justice Koen Lenaerts has said that imposing an upper limit on the number of refugees accepted by EU countries is not compatible with European law and a person's right to asylum under the Geneva Conventions.

 

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Pool bans all refugees after sex attack in Austria
The town of Mistelbach where the incident happened. Bwag/Wikimedia

An Austrian swimming pool has temporarily banned all refugees after a 13-year-old girl was allegedly followed into a women’s changing room and sexually molested.

Brexit result is 'a bad day' for Europe and Austria
Facebook/Christian Kern

Austrian politicians react to the news of Britain’s exit from the European Union with shock, describing the result as “a political earthquake”.

Brits in Austria 'numb' after UK opts for Brexit
wikimedia

Following the decision by British voters to leave the European Union yesterday, British citizens in Austria have been left stunned and fearful of their future.

Two cases of babies trapped in hot cars
Temperatures soared inside the car. Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Tragedy was narrowly averted on Thursday when rescue services were called out to two cases of infants trapped in overheating cars. Meanwhile, temperatures soared over much of the country.

Blind man insulted for not picking up after his dog
midiman/Flickr

A blind man got a nasty delivery from a neighbour who was angry that he did not pick up after his guide dog, even though he cannot see the faeces.

Austrian far-right calls on UK to 'stay to fight for better EU'
Norbert Hofer/Facebook

Presidential candidate Norbert Hofer, from the far-right and EU-sceptic Freedom Party, tells journalist Flemming Emil Hansen why he wants the UK to stay in the European Union.

Helicopter delivery nightmare for remote mountain hotel
Lacen/ Wikimedia

Two tons of wrong-sized mattresses dropped off by helicopter cause a delivery chaos at a remote mountain hotel.

France orders extradition of US rapper Gibbs to Austria

A French court on Thursday ordered the extradition of US rapper Freddie Gibbs to Austria, where he is accused of rape, his lawyer Michael Malka said.

Teacher fined for taping mouths of kindergarten kids
Photo: Katie Tegtmeyer/Creative Commons

Parents of three kindergarten children who had their mouths taped shut by their teacher are demanding she be fired from her position.

40% of Austrians in favour of Austrian EU referendum
Derschueler/Wikipedia

Nearly 40% of Austrians say they want their own referendum on Austria’s EU membership, a survey has shown.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
National
Don't hesitate - break the window
Sport
Ready to watch some football? Here's how!
National
Cake rules
Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Politics
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Politics
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Features
Refugees need practical help
Lifestyle
All you need to know about Austrian Faschingskrapfen
Lifestyle
Why looking good on the ski slopes has never been easier
Lifestyle
Live in Austria? You might develop some of these weird habits
National
How 'Silent Night' rules the carol world
Lifestyle
How a chance meeting on the slopes led to a new business
Lifestyle
What it means to be human
Technology
How a town became a green icon
Lifestyle
Why Austria has the world's best ski resort
Lifestyle
Let them eat cake!
Lifestyle
Top tips for partying like an Austrian
2,483
jobs available