Kurz threatens tighter border controls

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has threatened to introduce stricter border controls in Austria if a European solution cannot be found for the asylum crisis.

Kurz threatens tighter border controls

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Speaking to the ORF Wednesday evening, Kurz warned that if no solution was found Austria would introduce processes to quickly decide if a refugee had been waved through another European country before arriving in Austria.

Austrian Green politician and vice-president of the European Parliament Ulrike Lunacek criticised Kurz's comments and called for Austria to follow Germany's example and suspend the Dublin regulation for Syrians.

The Dublin regulation states that refugees must apply for asylum in the first EU country they enter. Suspending it for Syrians would allow them to apply for asylum in Austria even if they had travelled through other EU countries first.

“We are all EU,” Lunacek said. “This needs to be done here in Austria.”

Kurz has also recently commented on the Dublin regulation, which he says is no longer working in Europe.

“The truth is that the Dublin system is not working any more,” he said. “The truth is also that the idea of the European Union – a Union without borders inside – needs functional border control at the external borders of the European Union.”

West Balkan and EU heads meet today

Kurz was speaking ahead of the West Balkan conference being held today in Vienna between heads of Balkan states and some EU countries, including Austria and Germany.

The conference had meant to be about regional cooperation and prospects for joining the EU but is expected to be hijacked by Europe's ongoing refugee and migrant crisis.

Some 102,000 migrants entered the EU via Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro or Kosovo between January and July this year, compared to just 8,000 for the same period in 2014, according to EU border agency Frontex.

Last week Macedonia declared a state of emergency after being overwhelmed by the volume of refugees entering from Greece. Hungary is also erecting a border fence to try and deter refugees coming from Serbia.

Earlier this week Kurz described the situation as a 'humanitarian disaster' and said: “We have to find a new strategy to support Greece and the western Balkan countries.”


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.

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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.