Migrant spending won’t count towards deficit target

Austria says it has won agreement from the EU to exclude spending on the migrant crisis from eurozone deficit target calculations.

Migrant spending won't count towards deficit target
Refugees at Vienna's Westbahnhof station. File photo: Kim Traill

Spending on the migrant crisis is budgeted at one billion euros ($1.1
billion) in 2016, representing 0.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Finance Minister Hans-Jörg Schelling told Oe1 public radio.

Austria's deficit was 2.7 percent of GDP last year, just shy of the eurozone's 3.0 percent deficit target.

It is forecast to drop to 1.9 percent this year and 1.6 percent in 2016, according to the EU Commission.

“The Commission has recognized that spending for the refugees is both exceptional and unforeseen,” he said.

“We still need to see how this deduction will be handled technically, now or at the end of the year, but it is certain that there will be a deduction,” Schelling said.

Austria, like Italy, has been lobbying the EU Commission to go easy on countries with extraordinary spending for migrants when it comes to deficits.

The Commission has said it accepts the migrant crisis amounts to exceptional circumstances, justifying a softening of deficit rules.

Austria, a major gateway for migrants and refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East, expects 95,000 applications for asylum this year and up to 130,000 in 2016 “if
current trends continue”, the minister said.


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.