REFUGEE CRISIS: AUSTRIA IS ISOLATED, TENSION AT THE EU NEGOTIATING TABLE

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Tension around the migrants question keeps growing at the European Council which is taking place these hours in Brussels, Belgium. During last night’s dinner devoted to the refugee crisis, Austria remained isolated from the strong objections raised by the leaders of the other States on unilaterally established limits concerning the reception and transit of asylum seekers. They are considering the idea of including in the final draft of the resolution a written warning addressed to Austria for having taken decisions without the EU’s approval.

Vienna wants to impose a limit concerning the reception of asylum seekers, including also those who are transiting towards other destinations. This intention “would be obviously inconsistent with its obligations towards respect EU and international laws” according to what the EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos wrote to the Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl Leitner. Avramopoulos rejects also the quotas designed for asylum seekers in transit and “urges to reconsider the measures proposed unilaterally.”

The reply of the Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann was concise: he confirmed that his country does not intend to change its position on the limits concerning the refugees. “From a political point of view – he said on the sidelines of the summit – it is unthinkable that Austria should accept all the asylum seekers in Europe.” Faymann stressed also the fact that it will be up to the jurists to address the legal question.

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