The European Commission in Brussels today presents new proposals for the asylum reform that has been controversial for years. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has now made a number of clear demands on Brussels.
According to Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the distribution of refugees in the EU has failed. “So many states reject that. It won’t work either,” Kurz said in an interview with AFP news agency on Tuesday – a day before the EU commission in Brussels plans to present new proposals for the asylum reform that has been controversial for years.
He thinks it is “good for the European Commission to devote itself to the subject of asylum and migration,” said Kurz. The problem can only be “solved throughout Europe”. Kurz, however, rejected the use of terms such as “solidarity” in the migration debate. “Europe should have learned from 2015. And fight illegal migration together,” said the chancellor.
Kurz calls for better protection at the borders
The conservative ÖVP politician called for better protection of the EU’s external borders and a more effective fight against smugglers, “but also for more joint aid on the ground”.
Kurz continued to say his country made an “incredibly large contribution” to refugee policy. Often the EU Member States at the external borders are mainly considered when it comes to refugees and migrants. In fact, after Sweden and Germany, Austria is the “third most affected country” in the EU when it comes to taking in refugees. In the past five years, 200,000 people have been admitted to Austria.
Kurz stressed that smaller states in the EU should also have the opportunity to contribute their interests. “The European Union is more than just Germany and France,” he stressed. That is a good thing. As the two largest EU states, Germany and France “naturally have a certain claim to leadership”. However, other states would “have the same opportunity to contribute their ideas and seek majorities for them.”
As an example Kurz mentioned the group of so-called frugals or thrifty four in which Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark work together. In the debate on the EU’s Corona Reconstruction Plan, the four states received cuts in planned subsidies for countries badly affected by the crisis.
The Austrian Chancellor is calling for a clear position on Turkey in the gas dispute
Given the current tensions between the EU and Turkey, Kurz argued for a clear position from the EU member states. The EU must respond quickly not only “when it comes to Belarus or other countries in its eastern neighbors, but also when it comes to drawing clear red lines towards Turkey,” Kurz said, referring to the current sanction debates. in the EU.
“Absolutely problematic” is that there is “insufficient solidarity with Cyprus and Greece in the gas dispute with Turkey,” Kurz criticized. The Chancellor praised French President Emmanuel Macron, who represents “a clear position” towards Ankara in the conflict.
He would also like to see better coordination in the EU on questions about freedom of travel in the Corona crisis, Kurz said. When dealing with travel restrictions to third countries and travel warnings, “further coordination at European level would be good”.