Commentary Germany is not an example now

Austrians on Migration: Far from Germany and closer to Visegrad

The traditional affinity between the Austrians and the Germans is getting weaker. Our southern neighbors do not consider the Germans as an example to follow especially when it comes to issues of migration.

According to a survey by Market Institute conducted for journal Der Standard, almost half of the Austrians want more orientation on other neighbors, including the Czech Republic but also Hungary and Slovakia.

These three countries all grow economically and together refuse the friendly migration policy recently unveiled by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is seen unambiguously by the respondents. Although they largely disagree with her migration policy, 49 percent of them are glad she remains in office until 2021. The same proportion of people believe that Germany without Merkel will lose part of its influence in the world.

71 percent of respondents also agree that Germany dominates the EU, and 53 percent of respondents think that German politics has a significant impact on life in Austria. 90 percent of them, however, rejected a possible unification with Germany.  

The special German-Austrian relationship has not been harmed only by migration. Their partnerships have also been damaged by an espionage scandal in June 2018 when the German secret service BND spied on up to 2,000 targets in Austria including ministries and Austrian companies.

The Czech Republic initiated the rapprochement of Austria and the V4 in 2015. Former Deputy Foreign Minister Petr Drulák stood at the emergence of the so-called Slavkov format aiming to deepen cooperation between Vienna, Prague and Bratislava. Some Czech and Austrian politicians and experts also considered Austria's association with the V4. In the Czech Republic, the idea was also supported by President Milos Zeman.

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