SHARE
COPY LINK

IMMIGRATION

CSU: Bring back Austria border controls

The CSU, the Bavarian allies of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, is preparing a “seven-point emergency programme” including reinstating border controls with Austria to limit the number of refugees entering Germany from the south.

P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

Bavaria's state premier Horst Seehofer wants to “suspend” the Schengen agreement, which guarantees freedom of movement and abolished border controls between European countries which have signed up to it, at the state's border with Austria.

The Christian Social Union (CSU) decided on the most important parts of its programme on Friday at a meeting led by party leader Seehofer.

Bavaria has become a target for refugees entering Europe through Italy and then heading towards Austria. In July, police in Munich reported a "huge increase" in the number of people arriving illegally at Munich's main train station with 600 arrivals in June and July. 

Bavarian government figures show almost 17,000 people applied for asylum last year.

“Lampedusa can't become a suburb of Kiefersfelden [the Bavarian-Austrian border town],” CSU secretary-general Andreas Scheuer reportedly said at Friday's meeting, referring to the Italian island where many refugees have landed after fleeing their homeland in recent years.

“Italy has clearly violated the Schengen agreement,” Seehofer told Bild on Monday. “If that isn't fixed, Germany must really consider putting a stop to it with border controls.”

But the party's suggestions met with immediate resistance from their allies, Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

“To tighten borders would be a sign of powerlessness and a confession that the authorities in Germany don't work fast enough,” said Peter Hauk, leader of the CDU group in the Baden-Württemberg state parliament.

Germany was recently praised by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees who called Germany's refugee policy "an example for other European countries to follow".

A CSU spokesman contacted by The Local said that renewed border controls were not yet part of party policy, as they first have to be agreed at a party board meeting on Monday.

Other demands of the CSU include an increase in staffing levels at the Federal Migration and Refugees Office, repurposing disused barracks to house refugees, and an increase in funding of €100m for refugees and development aid, to be put under the control of CSU Development Aid Minister Gerd Müller.

Many towns in Bavaria are complaining that they are now overburdened with asylum seekers and refugees. Opposition politicians and refugee organisations have accused Seehofer of failing to react in time.

"The current situation is the payback for the short-sighted asylum policy of recent years," said Ben Rau of the Bavarian Refugee Council. "The Bavarian government must admit its failure and use the opportunity to finally introduce a long-term, humane accommodation policy."

Under the Schengen agreement and EU border regulations, refugees are supposed to remain in the country in which they first arrive so that the burden can be shared among member states.

But Italy has been accused of turning a blind eye to the refugees passing through the country so that they don't become a burden on its social security system.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière recently promised more support to Italy so that the country can deal with the large numbers of refugees arriving on its shores as EU rules require.

SEE ALSO: Germany to tighten asylum rules

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ECONOMY

Diversity and jobs: How migrants contribute to Vienna’s economy

International business owners in Vienna bring in billions of euros in revenue and taxes each year, according to a recent survey by the Chamber of Commerce.

Diversity and jobs: How migrants contribute to Vienna's economy

New figures show that Vienna’s international entrepreneurs do more than simply boost diversity in Austria’s capital city – they also significantly contribute to the local economy.

The Wirtschaftskammer (Chamber of Commerce) has revealed that business owners in Vienna with a migration background generate € 8.3 billion in revenue and create around 45,500 jobs.

Plus, these companies pay around € 3.7 billion every year in taxes and duties, reports ORF.

READ MORE: Austrian presidential elections: Why 1.4 million people can’t vote

Walter Ruck, President of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, said: “Companies with a migrant background not only enrich the diversity of the corporate landscape in Vienna, they are also an economic factor.”

Ruck added that more than 200 international companies move to the capital each year and said the diversity is helping Vienna to financially recover from the pandemic. 

The Chamber of Commerce considers a business owner to have a migration background if they were not born in Austria and/or they have a non-Austrian nationality.

READ ALSO: What are the rules on working overtime in Austria?

According to ORF, there are 34,000 entrepreneurs in Vienna with a migration background and 7,400 of those business owners have Austrian citizenship.

Additionally, 4,500 business owners have Slovakian nationality, 3,800 are from Romania and 2,600 have German citizenship.

The most popular business sector for people in Vienna with a migration background is retail, followed by real estate and technical services.

SHOW COMMENTS