Austria demands tougher EU migration policy, easier deportations

By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

After struggling with a record-breaking number of asylum applications last year, Austria is demanding the EU tighten its immigration policy and ease deportation rules.

In a recent statement, Austrian Minister of Interior Erhard Karner said that it should be allowed to expel illegal immigrants at the EU level, even without an asylum procedure.

Karner said data shows that more and more Tunisians and Indians were applying for asylum in the EU. He said that these citizens have practically no chance of being granted asylum, but they have the right to have the procedure carried out.

Austrian Minister of the Interior Gerhard Karner speaks during a news conference about the results of the repatriation conference in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)

The number of asylum seekers has risen dramatically in recent months. In 2022, Austria had nearly 60,000 asylum applications, which was triple what the country saw in 2021. However, adding to the burden are tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees who are not required to file for asylum. Many towns and cities say they have run out of accommodation options for the migrants.

Anti-immigration sentiment remains high in the country, and currently, the country’s Freedom Party (FPÖ) is the most popular in the country, polling at 28 percent.

The country’s current coalition government of the Christian Democrats (ÖVP) and the Greens is under increasing pressure to address the migrant crisis. Now, the interior minister is asking for the EU to allow countries to deport those clearly ineligible for asylum, according to Hungarian news outlet Mandiner.

“Those who would have no chance of a positive decision should be expelled immediately,” said Karner.

In total, 923,000 asylum applications were lodged in the EU in 2022; however, this procedure does not apply to war refugees from Ukraine, who are considered persecuted under EU rules.

According to the latest data from EU border agency Frontex, approximately 330,000 illegal border crossings into the European Union were recorded in 2022, the highest figure since the migration crisis of 2016 and an increase of 64 percent from the previous year. More than 80 percent of illegal migrants recorded were adult men.

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