Austria against asylum claims from non-EU migrant centres

2nd July, 2018 11:14:45 printer

VIENNA: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz spoke out on Monday against giving migrants the chance to seek asylum in the EU from proposed “disembarkation platforms” outside the continent, reports AFP. 

European leaders hammered out a deal in Brussels on Friday to consider setting up the centres outside the bloc, most likely in North Africa, in a bid to discourage migrants and refugees boarding EU-bound smuggler boats.

However, Kurz told O1 radio: “I’m among those who say that if we allow asylum applications (from the disembarkation platforms), this will create an incredible pull factor.”

The chancellor—whose country has just taken up the six-month rotating presidency of the EU—said the issue had caused a rift between EU leaders at the migration summit.

Bloc leaders agreed at the Brussels meeting to “quickly explore” the concept of “regional disembarkation platforms” for migrants rescued in international waters.

The Austrian chancellor said it would be “smarter to go directly to people in war zones, rather than create an incentive to undertake the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean”.

For Kurz the question also arises as to “whether, at the global level, the 60 million people fleeing their countries must be able to apply for asylum inside Europe or if they can do it from elsewhere”.

No non-EU countries have so far offered to host the proposed platforms, whose implementation has split European countries, with questions over their compatibility with international law.

The Austrian chancellor on Saturday said it was “feasible” to reach agreements with African countries to host the platforms.