Austria expects to receive less than half the number of asylum seekers this year than it did in 2015, but the government has still earmarked 2 billion euros (2.2 billion dollars) for migration-related costs in 2017.

The number of asylum seekers arriving in Austria will likely stay below the limit of 37,500 that the government set early this year, an Interior Ministry spokesman told dpa on Wednesday.

The country took in 90,000 asylum seekers last year, but pressure from the far-right Freedom Party and from public opinion forced the centrist government to adopt restrictive policies earlier this year.

These policies mean that if the influx surpassed the government's limit, Austria would have triggered emergency measures to reject nearly all asylum seekers at its borders.

Since January, some 28,000 asylum claims have been filed, the spokesman said.

Along with Germany and Sweden, Austria has been especially affected by the migration crisis since 2015.

Presenting the 2017 budget in parliament, Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling said 2 billion euros was set aside to host and integrate asylum seekers and to protect the country's borders.

These costs amounted to 600 million euros in 2014, nearly doubled to 1 billion euros in 2015 and doubled again this year to 2 billion euros.

For next year the government has increased its provisions for development aid and international organizations, in order to help address the root causes of migration.

However, the Interior Ministry and its police force will benefit from a far larger budget increase, to address citizens' concerns about migration, Schelling said.

"Not being safe in your own country is one of the biggest fears in these times. That's why we invest in our internal and external security, to address the current challenges and to ease the anxiety as much as possible," he said.

Related stories

EU parliament, member states strike deal on 2017 budget

Latest news

Messi's last minute penalty saves Barcelona from shock draw

Barcelona beat Leganes 2-1 with a last minute penalty from Lionel Messi in the Spanish first division on Sunday.

At least 30 injured after explosion in Bogota

A explosion in the Macarena area of Bogota injured at least 30 people on Sunday, many of them police officers who were guarding a bull running through the streets of the Colombian capital.

Vojvodina institutions hold conference on Bunjevci's non-Croat ethnic background

There are around 16,000 members of the Bunjevci community in Vojvodina who deny their Croat ethnic background. They are represented by the Bunjevci National Council which enjoys the support of state authorities, and, since the change of government in Vojvodina, of the provincial authorities as well.

SpaceX rocket blasts off from historic launch pad en route to ISS

A commercial rocket built by SpaceX is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) with a load of research equipment, cargo and supplies, NASA said Sunday.

Defence deals worth 1.2 billion dollars announced at key UAE show

Deals worth nearly 4.4 billion dirhams (1.2 billion dollars) were reached at a major defence show that opened Sunday in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), an official said.

Thousands protest in Malta against controversial press law reforms

Thousands of people attended a demonstration in Malta on Sunday, answering a call by the main opposition party to protest against what it described as a threat to democracy and freedom of expression.

London's mayor calls for Trump's state visit to be cancelled

US President Donald Trump should be denied a state visit to Britain due to his "cruel and shameful" immigration policies, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Sunday.

'Now more than ever': US scientists gird for confrontation with Trump

Normally any annual gathering of American scientists is relatively non-political. But, with Donald Trump in the White House, things are different at this year's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Many researchers are worried about their future and are urging colleagues to protest - and remain vigilant.

Int'l conference on post-war monuments in post-communist Europe held in Zagreb

The event was organised by the Zagreb-based association SF:ius in cooperation with the Croatian chapter of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

Serbians wouldn't go to war for Kosovo - poll

A majority of citizens in Serbia wouldn't go to war to claim back Kosovo, shows a survey conducted by the Serbian nongovernmental organisation "Belgrade Centre for Security Policy".

Grabar-Kitarovic, Lavrov find solution to air pollution caused by Bosanski Brod oil refinery

Croatia and Russia have found a solution for the problem of air pollution caused by a Russian-owned oil refinery in Bosanski Brod, northern Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has been poisoning residents of Slavonski Brod, a town across the Sava River in Croatia, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said in Munich on Sunday.

Istria border police discover 20 migrants in van

During routine border control, police in the northern Croatian Adriatic region of Istria on Saturday discovered 20 migrants in a van driven by a Croatian national, the Ministry of the Interior said.