• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Troops prepare for trouble at asylum border
File Photo: Austrian Bundesheer

Troops prepare for trouble at asylum border

The Local/AFP · 21 Feb 2016, 16:52

Published: 21 Feb 2016 16:52 GMT+01:00

The increase to 1,450 soldiers and reservists comes after Austria drew criticism last week for saying it would only accept 80 asylum seekers and let 3,200 migrants pass through the country per day.

The troops will assist police carrying out checks on people and vehicles entering the country, patrol the "green border" and carry out surveillance work, the defence ministry said.

Also a company of military police based in Salzburg "will be held back to be able to handle violent persons or groups of persons and prevent them crossing the border," the ministry said.

"These forces will be able to deploy all over the country and be brought into action using army helicopters at short notice as the interior ministry requires," it said in a statement.

There will also be two armoured personnel carriers and three military transport vehicles ready to "close gaps in the border at short notice," as well as a company of military engineers on standby.

In September the government approved the deployment of up to 2,200 military personnel "to help ensure a controlled and ordered handling of the movement of migrants, and to maintain security and order in the country," the statement added.

Austria last year took in 90,000 asylum seekers, making it one of the highest recipients in Europe on a per-capita basis, while almost 10 times as many passed through, mostly heading to Germany and Sweden.

Faced with public unease and an increasingly popular far-right opposition, Chancellor Werner Faymann's centrist government last week imposed the new cap in an attempt to slash the number of asylum seekers this year to 37,500.

Faymann 'surprised'

On Sunday, Faymann was quoted as saying that he was "surprised" at the resulting criticism which saw the EU's migration commissioner call the limit "plainly incompatible" with EU and international law.

"We know already now that (without the cap) we would be well above the number of migrants that we can cope with by the middle of the year at the latest," Faymann told the Kleine Zeitung daily in an interview.

"It would be politically negligent not to do something against that in good time," he said.

He stressed that his unilateral "Plan B" steps were necessary because common efforts by the European Union to deal with the crisis "are not having the effect that they should be".

Story continues below…

Austria's measures have also raised worries of a dangerous backlog of migrants through the western Balkans from Greece when the flow rises as expected again in the coming months as spring arrives.

The government has invited interior and foreign ministers from these countries to Vienna on Wednesday for a meeting under the motto "Managing Migration Together", the Austria Press Agency reported on Sunday.

Around 400 migrants entered Austria on Saturday, the day after the new cap entered into force.

Only a dozen applied for asylum, the others electing to travel onwards. Several hundred new arrivals were expected on Sunday, police said.

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

The Local/AFP (news.austria@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Pool bans all refugees after 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
2,480
jobs available