“This wouldn’t happen under my presidency,” I did Sebastian Kurz He recently said about the possible admission of Afghan refugee quotas. Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nahammer, who, like Kurz, is a politician from the Christian Democratic ÖVP, also takes the line of head of government. The contradiction of the Greens, the junior partner in the “turquoise green” coalition in Vienna, was audible, but weak. In the government’s programme, it was agreed de facto that the ÖVP could implement its restrictive asylum and immigration policy, if necessary with other majorities – this then meant that it could work with the right-wing FPÖ.
Vienna’s hard-line position in the debate over accepting the Afghans is not surprising. Austria took a similar position when it was asked to accept refugees from the Greek initial reception center Moria, which burned down last year. The reason for this situation is clear: ÖVP Under Kurtz’s leadership, the most powerful force was made by the electors twice in a row for precisely this purpose. He interrupted briefly the decline of the old “black” ÖVP – and at the same time the rise of the FPÖ, which only a few years ago seemed to be on its way to becoming the most powerful force in Austria.
Vienna does not consider itself directly responsible
Some media now suspect that the ÖVP is looking at the government election campaign in Upper Austria with its current rounds, or even more recently in an ORF interview with the FPÖ President Herbert KickellWhich is apparently overtaken on the right. This is rejected by the ranks of the ÖVP. The timing is said to be related to the fact that the state is crumbling in Afghanistan and that there is great concern about a new wave of illegal and uncontrolled immigration.
As Kurz said, similar to the CDU president: “We must not repeat the mistakes of 2015” Armin Laschet These days. One difference from Germany is that Vienna does not see itself directly responsible in a similar way. Although Austria is not a member of NATO, it participated in the Western military mission in Afghanistan with soldiers, until 2015 in small units, until recently with individual soldiers. But it is said that their “own” local staff, who should now be taken out, have not been hired.
Vienna rejects the accusation of evading solidarity obligations. Chancellor Kurz noted that a large number of Afghans had already been accepted into Austria. Wiener Zeitung Presse compiled the numbers for 2020: according to this, Austria has 40,096 from the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR Accepting registered refugees from Afghanistan.
Fear of deportation from Germany
This is more than in much larger France or Italy, only in Germany it is more. Also nowadays, immigrants come to Austria via the “Balkan Route”, which is again used extensively. So far this year, there are about 8000, five of them from Afghanistan. The government was criticized for this by the “right” wing of the Social Democrats. In fact, Kurz did not say anything about the absolute freezing of admission, as is already in effect in Hungary. With words like “voluntarily” or “additionally,” he turned against emergency solutions.
Vienna doesn’t care much about the absolute numbers of these refugee groups, which are likely low for Austria, but with a chilling nod to people smugglers and people migrating illegally. slammed in return raining The EU Commission, due to its “highly short-sighted and ideologically misleading policy”, is “consistently sending the wrong messages”. In Vienna they also know: if there was a wave of immigration like 2015, the Dublin rulings for Hungary or Greece would not be possible due to European case law – but from Germany to Austria it would.