EU critical of Austria’s plan to cap asylum applications

EPA/CHRISTIAN BRUNA

Refugees and migrants children line up as they walk along a border fence after they crossed the Slovenian-Austrian border, near the village of Spielfeld, Austria, 16 February 2016.

EU critical of Austria’s plan to cap asylum applications


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Austria’s plan to limit the number of refugees who can apply for asylum at the border to 80 a day violates the Geneva Convention on the rights of asylum seekers.

In a letter to the Austrian government seen by the Financial Times, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner responsible for migration, warned Vienna that the proposals violated not only the Geneva Convention but also the Convention on Human Rights and the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.

“I would urge you to reconsider the unilateral measures which you are proposing,” Avramopoulos wrote.

Meanwhile, Vienna’s plan has also triggered fears in Brussels that the routes taken by migrants could fragment, making the issue harder to control. At present, the bulk of migrants head north through the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Serbia before going west into Croatia and Slovenia before reaching the Austrian border and on to Germany.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, some 700,000 migrants entered Austria last year and about 90,000 applied for asylum in the country sitting on the migrant route from Turkey via Greece and the Balkans to Germany.

Austria is the latest EU state to resort to its own measures to curb migration and try control the flows as the 28-nation bloc has all but failed to implement a joint response to its worst migration crisis in decades, according to Reuters.

“The Austrians are obliged to accept asylum applications without putting a cap,” Avramopoulos was quoted as saying.

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