Austria will not take part in the initiative of 15 EU members who take in 40,000 refugees from Afghanistan in their countries. The new Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP) underlined this on Friday in the Interior Committee. On the occasion of Human Rights Day, the SPÖ member of the National Council Reinhold Einwallner asked him about it.
Both Interior Minister Karner and an expert from the department pointed out that Austria has taken in a particularly large number of people from Afghanistan in the past, with Austria already third in numbers in the EU behind Sweden and Germany. Another admission is out of the question for the Minister of the Interior.
The government nevertheless received criticism for its refusal to participate in the EU-wide initiative. As other figures have shown, Afghans still want to come to Austria. This year, significantly more refugees were picked up than in 2020. So far there have been 40,000. The number of asylum applications has more than doubled compared to the previous year. Most of the applications come from Syrians – and Afghans.
Karner wants to continue the consistent line of his predecessor Karl Nehammer in the area of asylum and migration, as he explained at the request of Neos MP Stephanie Krisper. The new interior minister named the fight against terrorism and illegal migration, the protection of external borders and cyber crime as further focal points of his work.