Few irregular migrants would come via Croatia, but 40 percent via the route Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and then Hungary, Nehammer said in a news conference. “We have enormous pressure from irregular migration, even though we are a landlocked EU country and not a foreign border country,” said the Chancellor at a press conference.
Austria has taken in many people and granted them protection since 2015. Tens of thousands of people from Ukraine are currently being offered security and protection, which is “a matter of course”.
But in addition to the people from Ukraine, there are already 95,000 asylum applications, and many of these people are not entitled to asylum. “And the biggest problem of all is that the majority of those who come to us are not registered.” In total, more than 100,000 irregular migrants have been apprehended in Austria so far, 75,000 of them were not registered.
“The asylum system has failed”
You have to change the existing system, said Nehammer. “The European asylum system has failed.” A rejection directive is needed to be able to reject asylum seekers from safe countries of origin more quickly.
“We are now discussing the Schengen expansion, while at the same time we see, Austria in particular, that the external borders are inadequate or not protected and on the other hand internal border protection should be less. From our point of view, from the Austrian point of view, not like that,” said the Chancellor. “The Schengen expansion will not take place like this.”
Unlike the other two countries, Croatia is fulfilling its obligations. “We will support Croatia’s path to the Schengen area, and at the same time we will be very critical of the efforts of Bulgaria and Romania,” Nehammer said.
The statement in full:
“Croatia exemplary in border protection”
In the run-up to his Zagreb trip, the chancellor appeared to be withdrawing a previously expressed veto threat from Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP). “Since Croatia fulfills the border protection in an exemplary manner, I don’t see a problem there. The countries are voted on individually,” he said on Tuesday. Karner himself did not want to commit himself accordingly on Wednesday. “We are currently negotiating very intensively,” he said simply. Nehammer’s statements were greeted with satisfaction not only in Croatia but also in Slovenia, as the APA learned from informed circles in Ljubljana on Wednesday. The country lying between Croatia and Austria has been fighting for the lifting of Austrian border controls for years, precisely based on the argument of low migration pressure.
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Plenković said they were aware of Austria’s concerns and problems in view of the large number of asylum seekers. Together they also found that these people do not come to Austria via Croatia. And together they will also work to ensure that controls at the EU’s external borders are strengthened, said Plenković.
Nehammer also met in Zagreb for talks with President Zoran Milanović and Speaker of Parliament Gordan Jandrokovi&cacut; together. On Thursday he will be at the LNG terminal on the island of Krk with Plenković and the Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder will talk about the gas supply.