The European Commission needs to do more to combat illegal mass immigration, according to Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer.
In an interview with the liberal-conservative German newspaper Die Welt, Nehammer complained that the EU executive “as a defender of declarations does not address the constant violation of EU laws.”
“I expect the European Commission to get moving because more and more member states are dissatisfied with its migration policy,” Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer told the publication.
“Landlocked countries like Austria are receiving a lot of illegal immigrants who have already passed through several EU countries and safe third countries without being stopped,” he added.
The Austrian chancellor said that by the end of August this year, a total of 57,000 asylum applications had been lodged in the country of around 9 million people, an increase of 195 percent compared to last year. This does not include the 85,000 people who have fled Ukraine and for whom Austria is providing protection and care. “We have reached the upper limit in Austria,” Nehammer explained.
According to the EPP politician, the Commission has ignored the EU’s “toothless external borders” in recent years. But Frontex, the EU’s border protection agency, cannot escape responsibility either, as it “should finally protect the EU’s external borders effectively, also providing a protective wall for member states against people smuggling,” Nehammer said. He said the Commission should also ensure that the countries of origin take back the migrants, and should encourage the states concerned to do so.
A Commission spokesman said in Brussels on Tuesday that the Commission was aware of the challenges and the significant increase in the number of refugees and illegal immigrants in Austria. The issue was also on the agenda of a meeting of EU interior ministers on Friday. The spokesperson revealed that ministers from Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary will hold separate consultations on migration.
Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, who is responsible for promoting a European way of life, said in a Twitter post after his meeting with Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner on Monday: “No single state can manage migration alone” and Europe should “work together as a team.”
Meanwhile, the German government announced on Tuesday that it will reinforce border protection along its border with Austria from December to reduce the number of migrants entering Germany.