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Austria proposes to the EU to create migrant expulsion centres in third countries

EU-turn presidency raises limits on integration of foreigners

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Austria proposes to the EU to create migrant expulsion centres in third countries

Austria is stepping on accelerator with migration. This country, which until December is presidency of EU's turn, proposes to its European partners to create expulsion centres in third countries to house migrants who do not have right to asylum in Europe. The objective is that y remain re until y return m to ir places of origin. The initiative, which takes a step furr from community proposal to create landing platforms in foreign countries, will be discussed at meeting of Community Ministers of Interior to be held this Thursday in Innsbruck (Austria). Beyond external dimension, presidency suggests an idea of dubious legality: defining "Capacity limits" for integration of migrants in Member States.

Although numbers of arrivals in Europe are moderate compared to previous years, migration monopolizes political strategy in Brussels. And Austria is determined to allow its six-monthly presidency to redouble se efforts. The Presidency has sent a document to all Member States to prepare meeting of ministers that takes place this Thursday in Austrian city. The text, advanced by political journal and which country has had access to, proposes to create what it calls "expulsion centres" in non-EU countries. In this way, Europe "would ensure that, in case of negative decisions on asylum applications, person in question leaves EU and is transferred to ir country of origin or possibly to a third country," document raises. That model would constitute "an essential contribution to combating trafficking in persons," he justifies.

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The approach implies giving official character to an idea informally outlined by Denmark and Austria a month ago. The Austrian authorities know that it touches borders of Community law. The return directive allows a person with expulsion order to be sent to a third country, but has to be made with consent of both affected and country that would welcome him, which greatly limits scope. Austria proposes an automatic scheme, something that generates discomfort among many Member States, including Spain, according to sources consulted.

The executive of Sebastian Kurz, who governs Austria in coalition with far right, has already outlined this idea in a first community working group dedicated to terrorist threat. The partners found it very extreme and now proposals have been softened, although bottom line is still same: EU will only admit-with a dropper- book refugees. For rest, option is a foreign country. Vienna argues that goal is to dismantle mafias that smuggle migrants to Europe.

The internal part reveals, however, that Austria's distrust of migration goes far beyond fight against traffickers. The document raises link between migration flows and internal security on several occasions. It also reveals a profound rejection of welcome of foreigners from different cultures, in line with debate posed by Eastern Bloc in general (and Hungary of Viktor Orbán in particular).

Limits to reception

The Presidency advocates setting limits on acceptance — without clarifying wher it refers to numbers or groups of migrants — "taking into account social peace, social cohesion and European values." The phrase connects with conviction expressed by Kurz a few days ago in Vienna to ensure that re are migrants that integrate better than ors. Among latter he quoted Afghans. There is nothing in European legislation that endorses discrimination against migrants in terms of ir identity.

The Innsbruck meeting is a propitious scenario for furr discussing idea that Austria is most concerned about and most conservative part of Germany: The crossings of asylum seekers at EU's internal frontiers, in particular by separating se D OS states. Without referring to this particular case, Presidency's text warns that, if migration flows are not controlled, " functioning of Schengen [free movement of persons] will remain exposed to fundamental challenges, with possible consequences for security Inside EU.

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  • Austria warns that it will reinforce its border if Germany activates returns
  • Germany insures Austria that it will not return asylees to cross its border


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