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Austria asylum cap 'unlawful and unconstitutional'

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Austria asylum cap 'unlawful and unconstitutional'
Gerhart Holzinger. Photo: VfGH (Youtube)
12:56 CET+01:00
Austria’s new asylum cap that limits the number of asylum cases this year to 37,500 has been declared ‘unlawful and unconstitutional’ by the head of the country’s Constitutional Court.

The criticism come as Austria’s Chancellor Werner Faymann reiterated calls for Germany to introduce it’s own cap to curb the number of new asylum seekers it accepts each day.

The president of Austria’s Constitutional Court Gerhart Holzinger said on Tuesday that there is a legal requirement for every person who meets the refugee criteria to be given asylum, as is stipulated in international human rights conventions.

He praised, however, the government’s efforts to distinguish between asylum seekers and refugees who might not get asylum status but are nonetheless threatened in their land of origin.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Faymann (SPOe) continued to pile the pressure on neighbouring Germany by saying leader Angela Merkel must declare that she is not willing to take on all those seeking protection.

He was supported by vice-president Reinhold Mitterlehner (OeVP), who added that they both agree “the Balkan route must stay closed”.

Other Austrian politicians are not so on board. Salzburg mayor Heinz Schaden, whose city was one of those in Austria most affected by the influx of refugees making their way to Germany last year, says he is disappointed with the government’s criticism of Germany, especially considering Austria also initially welcomed refugees last year.

In an interview with Xinhua, Schaden said that the allegations that Merkel “invited” the refugees are impolite and untrue. He referred to the fact that both Austria and Germany made it easier for refugees to enter following the incidents involving 300 refugees walking to Vienna from Budapest and the 71 people who died in the back of a truck in August.

He added that he expects more refugees to come to Europe this month, despite the closure of the Balkan route, which he might not hold under the pressure of thousands of refugees.

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