Austria to adopt stricter asylum laws, present border measures

Austria is set to move towards tougher measures on Wednesday to limit the number of new asylum requests.

Legislators in Vienna are expected to pass an amendment that allows the government to adopt emergency measures if the number of arrivals threatens to overburden Austria's public services.

These measures would include the rejection of all asylum seekers at borders except for those few who have immediate family in Austria or who face inhumane treatment if they are pushed back to another country.

The centrist coalition government drafted the amendments amid growing popular support for the anti-immigration Freedom Party (FPOe).

However, the FPOe has criticized the bill as too lax and has said that it will oppose it.

There have also been a growing number of voices from inside Chancellor Werner Faymann's Social Democratic Party who fear that the emergency measures would undermine efforts to find an EU-wide solution to the refugee crisis.

At the Brenner mountain pass, which divides Austria and Italy, Austrian police are scheduled to present plans to reporters for strict border checks there, in case Italy is faced with a major inflow of onward travelling migrants and is unable to control the situation.

The plan has raised concerns in Italy, as the border controls could hamper traffic on this key European road cargo route.

"The closure of the Brenner would be enormously damaging to the economy and transport, but also enormously damaging to the European Union because the Brenner pass is the symbol of European integration," Italy's Infrastructure and Transport Minister Graziano Delrio said Monday in Rome.

Austria's chamber of commerce is also worried that its freighters will lose money.

Delays and traffic jams at the Brenner would create damages of 1 million euros (1.1 million dollars) a day, chamber official Alexander Klacska told dpa.

"That's bad news," he said.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
Author: 

More from Europe

Austria's Green candidate for president defeats far-right rival

Austrians opted for a pro-European president by electing Green candidate Alexander Van der Bellen on Sunday with 53....

Hero to zero? Italy's Renzi puts career on the line in referendum

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi risks becoming Europe's youngest political has-been if Sunday's constitutional...

Ten facts about Italy's constitutional referendum

Italians will vote Sunday on a constitutional referendum that could result in major institutional changes or trigger...

Austrian presidential candidates optimistic as country repeats vote

The far-right and Green contenders for the Austrian presidency were both optimistic on Sunday as citizens cast their...

Van der Bellen, a fervent European with an immigrant background

Green presidential candidate Alexander Van der Bellen looked very presidential in May when he declared his election...