• 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
Fresh attempt to seize Hitler's birth house
Austria's government submitted Friday a law to seize the house where Hitler was born, in a bid to stop the building becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

Austria's government submitted Friday a law to seize the house where Hitler was born, in a bid to stop the building becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

Murder-suicide in Braunau am Inn, birthplace of Hitler
Photo: Stadtamt Braunau am Inn

A small Upper Austrian town best known for being the birthplace of Adolf Hitler has apparently witnessed a murder-suicide on Friday afternoon.

Young Austrian millionaire dies after falling from window
Monaco, where the incident happened. Photo: Tobi 87/Wikimedia

The mysterious death of a 43-year-old Austrian millionaire is being investigated by authorities after he fell from a window of his luxury home in Monaco.

Weekend promises both hailstones and sunshine
Strandbad Alte Donau. Photo: Stadt Wien

Depending on where you are in Austria this weekend, expect either thunderstorms or 31 degree sunshine.

Austria's 'free sex' brothel owner arrested in tax dispute
Herman Pascha/Youtube

An Austrian brothel owner who made worldwide headlines in 2015 when he offered free sex to punters as a protest against paying tax has once again run into trouble with the taxman.

Austria's super rich are becoming 'poorer'
One of Austria's richest people Ferdinand Piëch. Stuart Mentiply/Wikimedia.

Austria’s richest people are not quite as rich as they used to be - although the country’s wealthiest family are still worth €35 billion.

Captain America inspiration behind Vienna Hyperloop
HTT

Anyone who still holds on to their childhood dream of being a superhero will be delighted by the name of the state-of-the-art technology behind a transport system planned for Vienna.

Brexit
Deadline for overseas Brexit voters looms
Jeff Djevdet/Creative Commons

British people living in Austria who are eligible to vote in the EU referendum have until Tuesday June 7th to apply for a proxy vote.

Gay doctor in Austria fired for arranging illegal surrogacy
AKH. Photo: Medical University of Vienna

A gay doctor who wanted a child with his partner was fired by a hospital in Austria after persuading a fellow doctor to carry their baby, despite surrogacy being illegal in the country.

Facebook on shaky ground after activist's latest victory
Manfred Werner/Wikimedia

Austrian data privacy activist achieves another legal victory in his bid to stop Facebook transferring European citizens’ data to the US.

Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
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
Culture
Five places to learn how to cook Viennese cuisine
Lifestyle
How living in Austria will improve your lifestyle
Lifestyle
Backstage at the World Beard and Moustache Championship
Gallery
Up to 60,000 people welcomed refugees in Vienna
Culture
Can you spot an Austrian?
Lifestyle
Our pick of Vienna's best vegetarian restaurants
Analysis & Opinion
Italy's South Tyrol: where an identity crisis lingers
National
Lost on the way to sanctuary
2,478
jobs available