Austria's new interior minister to stay tough on migrants

The Local/AFP
The Local/AFP - [email protected]
Austria's new interior minister to stay tough on migrants

Austria's new Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said on Sunday he would stick to the hardline stance on migrants pushed by his predecessor, Johanna Mikl-Leitner.


"This course will be continued, there's no doubt about that," Sobotka told a press conference in Vienna. The 60-year-old, who is a newcomer to national politics, said he did not want "any experiments".

The pair will swap jobs later this month as part of a reshuffle within the conservative ÖVP party announced on Sunday evening.

Mikl-Leitner is set to take over Sobotka's current position as acting regional governor in her home state of Lower Austria.

"In a few days I will leave the republic's toughest job behind me and start the most beautiful role in Austria," Mikl-Leitner said.

The 52-year-old, who took office in 2011, has been one of the key architects behind the country's tough asylum-seeker policies, as Europe grapples with its worst migration crisis since World War II.

She has overseen the introduction of border fences, tougher frontier controls  and hardline asylum rules - including an annual cap on migrant numbers - as part of her push to build "fortress Europe" and shut the main Balkan migrant trail for good.

With that route now closed, Mikl-Leitner recently turned her attention to the Italian border, threatening to clamp down on the strategically important Brenner pass checkpoint if Rome failed to stop illegal migrants.



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