Austria: EU must secure borders to stop illegal migration

by: Harry Johnson | copyright: eTurboNews – Travel Industry News – World Travel News

Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer today demanded stronger protection from the European Union (EU) from illegal migration into the bloc and Austria in particular.

European Union member states recorded over 330,000 illegal entry attempts in 2022, border control agency Frontex reported – the greatest number since 2016 and a figure that does not include legal asylum applicants or Ukrainian refugees. More than 80% of these were adult men.

In an interview with a German national daily newspaper Die Welt, Nehammer said that he would block a European Council summit declaration on migration this week, if EU leaders do not pay to secure bloc’s external borders against illegal alien invasion.

The chancellor demanded tangible actions, declaring that “empty phrases will not suffice” this time.

If no “concrete measures” to stop illegal migration are agreed to, the chancellor said, Austria would not back the summit declaration.

“A clear and unequivocal commitment to strengthening external border protection and the use of appropriate financial resources from the EU budget is needed,” Nehammer added.

Last month, Nehammer called for the European Commission to pay €2 billion ($2.17 billion) to build a border fence between Bulgaria and Türkiye.

Austria blocked Bulgaria from joining the visa-free Schengen Area in December, citing concern that the country would not be able to adequately police its borders.

Yesterday, Austrian Chancellor and the heads of seven other European countries demanded stronger protections against illegal migration in a letter to the presidents of the European Commission and European Council ahead of tomorrow’s migration meeting.

The leaders of Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, and Slovakia also signed the statement, denouncing existing European policies and the low rate of return they produce as a “pull factor” motivating illegal aliens. 

“The current asylum system is broken and primarily benefits the cynical human smugglers who take advantage of the misfortune of women, men and children,” the letter reads, demanding an increase in deportation and sending would-be asylum seekers to “safe third countries” in addition to strengthening physical border fortifications.

Last month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen suggested a “pilot project” that would allow for “immediate returns” of failed asylum seekers to their home countries.

European Union migration ministers have also recommended restricting EU visas for the countries that refuse to accept returned nationals.

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