Germany says Austria’s asylum limitation is ‘unacceptable’

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere says Austria's asylum cap is ‘unacceptable’

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere criticises Austrian decision on asylum limitation.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Sunday said Austria's decision to impose daily limits on the number of asylum seekers it would accept while letting thousands of others transit through sends "the wrong signal" and is "unacceptable".

Despite strong objections from the European Union, on Friday Austria 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.

"It won't work if some countries think they can solve the problem by putting extra weight on Germany's back," de Maiziere told ARD public television, accusing Vienna of failing to conduct proper checks on those being let through.

Berlin fears many of these refugees are heading to Germany, as the country is struggling to integrate the nearly 1.1 million refugees who arrived to Germany last year.

"Even for security reasons, this is unacceptable. We won't allow this to continue long term," de Maiziere said, adding that he planned to bring up the issue during the next meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels on Thursday.

The asylum cap "is an Austrian decision", he said. "But to say that 3,200 can continue towards Germany is the wrong signal," he added.

Austria played a corridor role for neighbouring Germany, allowing hundreds of thousands of people onto its territory many of them being Syrian refugees, since the two countries opened their borders in September 2015.

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

Austria's move was the latest example of independent action taken by an EU country to curb the refugee flow, as the bloc struggles to deal with the continent's worst refugee crisis since World War II.

TRTWorld and agencies