Austria to limit number of refugees entering country

Austria to restrict daily number of refugees entering country despite European Union rebuke of its refugee policy

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Refugees wait to cross the border from Slovenia into Spielfeld in Austria, February 16, 2016.

The Austrian government on Friday will propose daily limits on the number of refugees entering the country and on asylum applications in spite of criticism from the European Commission, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner announced on Thursday.

Austria has declared it will allow in no more than 3,200 refugees a day, regardless of whether they intend to go to Germany or apply for asylum in Austria, and will introduce a daily limit of 80 asylum requests.

"We will ... begin tomorrow as planned," Mikl-Leitner said in a statement.

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said, "Politically I say we'll stick with it. Sweden and Germany will have to speak for themselves but it's unthinkable for Austria to take on the asylum seekers for the whole of Europe."

"After 100,000 refugees we can't tell the Austrian people that it will just continue like this," he added.

European Union Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos warned the Austrian government on Thursday that a daily cap on refugees would violate EU law.

Most of the refugees who are seeking asylum come from war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to EUROSTAT 68,950 refugees sought asylum in Austria in 2015.

Austria, Germany and Scandinavia are the main destinations for refugees who have entered Europe with the intention of seeking asylum.

TRTWorld and agencies