• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Austria 'extremely critical' of EU-Turkey migrant deal

The Local/AFP · 10 Mar 2016, 09:23

Published: 10 Mar 2016 09:23 GMT+01:00

"I am extremely critical," Johanna Mikl-Leitner told ORF public radio from Brussels ahead of a two-day meeting of EU interior ministers to chew over the proposed agreement.

"I am seriously wondering whether we are taking ourselves and our values seriously or if we are throwing them overboard," she said.

The mooted deal between Ankara and Brussels, discussed at an EU summit on Monday and due to be finalised on March 17th-18th, would see Turkey take back all illegal migrants landing in Greece.

Ankara proposed an arrangement under which the EU would resettle one Syrian refugee from camps in Turkey in exchange for every Syrian that Turkey takes from Greece, in a bid to reduce the incentive for people to board boats for Europe.

In return though, Turkey wants billions of euros in aid, visa-free access to Europe's passport-free Schengen zone and a speeding up of Ankara's efforts to join the EU - demands that go too far for some.

In addition, questions have been raised over the legality of the plans as well as the desirability of doing a deal with a country that critics say has had a shaky human rights record, not least regarding the media and its Kurdish minority.

Mikl-Leitner noted that only a few days before Monday's summit, Turkish police raided the offices of daily newspaper Zaman to impose a court order placing it under administration, dispersing protesters with tear gas and water cannon.

"I think it's questionable if Turkey takes control of a newspaper critical of the government and then turns up here (in Brussels) three days later and puts a wish list on the table," she said.

Story continues below…

"And then Turkey is rewarded with discussions about bringing forward visa liberalisation," she said, suggesting that any deal with Ankara should include a "termination clause".

Turkey deal follows closure of Balkan route led by Austria

The deal with Turkey was struck in part because of the huge numbers of refugees now left trapped in Greece.

The situation became critical after Austria's introduction of a refugee cap of 37,500 for this year set off a chain of border controls throughout the Balkans.

With Austria's desire to close the Balkan route for migrant and refugees now fulfilled, Mikl-Leitner said in a separate interview with Germany newspaper Die Welt that the "clock will not be turned back".

She said: "My position is clear — the Balkan route will remain closed, and permanently."

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

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

Today's headlines
Op ed
Life as a new expat in Vienna
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Anastasia Gromontova is a student recently arrived from Ukraine. She writes about her experience as an expat in Vienna in her first year.

Second MERS case reported in Austria
Photo: JJRON/Wikimedia

According to a report from the WHO, a second case of the Middle-East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection (MERS-CoV) has now been reported in Austria.

Fire chief in Lower Austria confirmed as arsonist
Photo: Wolfsbach Feuerkommandant

The fire chief of Wolfsbach in Lower Austria has admitted to starting seven separate fires that amounted to €80,000 in damages.

Woman found stabbed to death in Vienna's Favoriten district
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A 53-year-old woman was found stabbed to death with a kitchen knife early on Tuesday morning in Vienna’s Favoriten district.

Immigration to cause massive increase in benefit costs
Austria saw a record 90,000 people apply for asylum last year. Photo: UNHCR

A new study suggests that social welfare is under pressure in Austria because of the influx of migrants over the last year.

Dominatrix convicted for customer's strangulation death
Photo: Hadron137/Wikimedia

An Austrian prostitute was convicted Monday over the death of a sadomasochist client left to die with a noose and a shoelace around his neck in a Vienna hotel room.

Dominatrix in court after deadly sex game claims a life
Image: Mulher Gotica 2/Wikimedia

A prostitute is on trial accused of causing intentional serious bodily harm resulting in death, after a 45-year-old client of hers was found hanging in a hotel room.

Suspicious wife travelled to Graz with husband's entrails
The customs officers weren't expecting to find entrails. Photo: Europol

Customs officers at an Austrian airport were taken aback to find human entrails in the bag of a Moroccan traveller, who said they belonged to her dead husband.

Merkel wants to send back failed migrants
Photo: FNDE/Wikimedia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, under fire at home over her refugees policy, called Saturday for Europe to secure deals with third countries to send back migrants who do not qualify for asylum.

Police officer run over by prisoner on day release
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A police officer in Vienna is in a critical condition after being knocked down by a prisoner on day release who was riding a Yamaha motorbike at full speed.

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
2,466
jobs available