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Austria to propose moving asylum requests outside EU

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Austria to propose moving asylum requests outside EU
Herbert Kickl, left, and Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP
10:36 CEST+02:00
Austria's hardline interior minister Herbert Kickl said he would push to change the EU's migration policy so it is no longer possible to make asylum requests on European soil.

"That would be a proposal," the minister of the far-right FPOE party told journalists in Vienna on Tuesday.

Any other solution, he argued, "would encourage traffickers to say: 'I take your money to bring you to the European Union because you are guaranteed the right to make a request for asylum, with a very, very weak probability of being sent back'."

Austria currently holds the rotating EU presidency, which gives it the opportunity to chair meetings and set agendas as the bloc grapples to find a common migration policy.

In the Austrian proposal, asylum requests would be made in refugee camps outside Europe to "a sort of mobile commission", Kickl said.

Only exiles from countries that directly border the European Union would be able to make their asylum requests on EU territory.

The issue of migration and asylum rights in Europe has raised tensions among the 28 member states and will be on the agenda of a meeting of EU interior ministers on Thursday in Innsbruck.

In the short term, Kickl hopes to propose to his colleagues to establish "return centres" in willing countries outside the EU, for people refused asylum who could not be immediately repatriated to their country of origin.

The proposed changes to asylum rules have been developed in a draft document of the Austrian presidency dated earlier this month, which has been published in the press these last few days.

The draft claims that among asylum seekers, "a lot of them are particularly drawn to ideologies that are hostile to freedom or which are prone to violence".

It proposes to grant asylum only to "those who respect the values of the EU and its rights and fundamental liberties".

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