Austria's refugee cap conforms to EU law, legal opinion

Austrian daily newspaper reports that governments’ decision to limit asylum claims does not violate European Union law

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

A mother carries her baby covered with a blanket as they disembark from a ferry on March 11, 2016. Greece's gov't says nearly 42,000 people are stranded in Greece following border restrictions by Austria and some Balkan countries started last month. [AP]

A cap on asylum claims declared by Austria in January does not violate European Union law, according to a legal opinion commissioned by the Austrian government, an Austrian daily newspaper said on Tuesday, citing government sources.

Last year, Austria received 90, 000 applications for asylum and announced the limitation of the number of refugees this year to 37,500. It has a population of 8.4 million.

No Austrian government official yet commented on the report.

Legal opinion would be published no earlier than mid-week, according to an Austrian daily newspaper.

The newspaper said that European law specialist Walter Obwexer and Bernd-Christian Funk, a specialist on constitutional law, had confirmed that capping asylum claims was legal.

They gave particularly reference to Article 72 of the European Union Treaty, which permit members countries to intervene in fundamental freedoms and EU rules if national sovereignty is threatened, it said. Limiting asylum claims at Austria's southern border to 80 per day could meanwhile be justified for "technical reasons."  

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has called for Germany to set a clear limit on the number of asylum seekers it will accept, to help prevent the unprecedented influx of that is severely testing European cohesion.

TRTWorld and agencies