• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Austria implements migrant cap despite EU anger
Migrants and refugees on the Austrian border. File photo: APA

Austria implements migrant cap despite EU anger

The Local/AFP · 19 Feb 2016, 09:01

Published: 19 Feb 2016 09:01 GMT+01:00

Since 8am, a maximum of 80 migrants per day are being allowed to claim asylum in the country, police said.

In addition, Vienna is limiting the daily number of people transiting Austria to seek asylum in a neighbouring country to 3,200.

Once the quotas have been reached, "the borders will be closed," police spokesman Fritz Grundnig told AFP.

He added that due to bad weather, no migrant had arrived at the Austrian-Slovenian frontier since Thursday afternoon.

Vienna's measures -- announced earlier this week along with tougher controls at 12 checkpoints along its southern borders -- drew an angry reaction from the EU on Thursday.

"Such a policy would be plainly incompatible with Austria's obligations under European and international law," European migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos complained in a letter to Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also criticised the proposal. "As far as Austria is concerned I have to say I don't like this decision, we are questioning whether it is within European law, and we will have a friendly discussion," Juncker told a news conference.

But Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said there "will be no lifting of the decision," speaking at a two-day EU summit.

Speaking to French radio during the Brussels summit, French President
Francois Hollande bluntly warned the end of Schengen would mean "the end of Europe, in the sense of free circulation among Europeans."

The deep rifts within the 28-nation bloc have opened as a result of
Europe's biggest migration crisis since World War II.

More than 80,000 people -- many of them children -- have endured the
perilous journey across the Aegean Sea since January, with most fleeing war and violence in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The daily limit on asylum claims is in line with Austria's announcement last month that it would only take in 37,500 asylum seekers this year -- sharply down from the 90,000 it accepted in 2015, making it one of the bloc's highest recipients on a per-basis capita.

Story continues below…

Vienna says that the measures are necessary because a German-backed EU plan for Turkey to stem the flow of migrants setting off from its coast is not yet working, and has urged other countries on the Balkans route into Europe to follow suit.

In response, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia have also tightened their borders.

In 2015, over one million people reached Europe's shores -- nearly half of them Syrians fleeing a civil war that has claimed more than 260,000 lives.

The vast majority enter the EU through Italy and Greece, where they should register, but poor controls mean most are able to continue their journeys to northern Europe.

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

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

Today's headlines
Intoxicated man demanded officer's gun at Graz airport
View of Graz airport. Photo: Jacktd/Wikimedia

A blind-drunk Romanian man caused a commotion in the departure hall at Graz airport on Wednesday afternoon, threatening to shoot himself with a police officer’s gun.

700 museums open their doors for Long Night event
The hare with amber eyes. Photo: KHM-Museumsverband/Michael Harvey

Night owls and culture vultures can explore over 700 of Austria’s museums from 6pm to 1am on Saturday, courtesy of the ORF’s Long Night of Museums event.

US rapper acquitted in Austrian sexual abuse trial
Freddie Gibbs. Photo: SwaGibbs/Wikimedia

Update: US rapper Freddie Gibbs has been acquitted of sexually abusing a girl half his age in his hotel room after a concert in Vienna last year.

Driver in Vienna 'shouting Allahu Akbar' tries to run over pedestrians
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Police in Vienna are investigating whether a 21-year-old man who tried to run over pedestrians with his car on Thursday morning had a terrorist motive.

Life sentence for killer driver judged to be sane
Screen grab of the car in Herrengasse. Photo: ORF

A jury in the Austrian city of Graz has found a man guilty of killing three people in the southern city last year by driving his 4x4 at high speed down a crowded pedestrian street.

Rare panda twins getting more active every day
The twins are a boy and a girl. Photo: Schönbrunn Zoo

The unique panda twins that were born two months in Vienna are developing well and growing up fast according to zookeepers.

High altitude ski resorts get less snowfall
St. Anton ski resort. Photo: 24seven/Wikimedia

Spring skiing in Austrian resorts like St. Anton or Ischgl could become a thing of the past if a long-term trend discovered by Swiss researchers continues.

Stuntman's clutch fails after driving at 300 km/h
Felix Baumgartner. Photo: Red Bull Stratos

Skydiver Felix Baumgartner has been criticised after boasting about how the clutch on his Ford GT sports car failed after he drove it for several hours at speeds of up to 300 km/per hour.

Austrian men tend to be 'critical of working mothers'
Attitudes are less conservative than in the 1950s. Photo: German Bundesarchiv

42 percent of under 45-year-olds in Austria are critical of mothers with small children who have a job, and believe “a preschooler suffers if his or her mother works”.

Paid social work 'should help asylum seekers integrate'
Refugees arriving on boats in the Mediterranean. UNHCR/Archilleas Zavallis

Refugee experts from Austria’s nine states are meeting in Graz today, to discuss how to provide asylum seekers with employment and opportunities for integration through community work.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Those surprising Austrians!
National
100 years since the last emperor's death
National
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Lifestyle
Have fun in September!
National
Der you learn Deutsch?
Culture
Delighted by the light
National
Beware these passport scams
National
Of course we skipped Oarsch
National
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
Yodel-ei-ei-eee--oh
Lifestyle
10 years after her escape from captivity
Politics
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
National
Another 10 million Euros for fresh elections
Gallery
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Society
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Gallery
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
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
2,479
jobs available