Austria caps refugee intake at 80 per day in defiance of EU

Austria caps refugee intake at 80 per day in defiance of EU

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A day after the Commission warned the move was illegal under international law, the Austrian government order border officials to start enforcing the new limit
Austria has begun imposing a new policy of only accepting 80 refugees a day in defiance of the European Commission.
A day after the Commission warned the move was illegal under international law, the Austrian government order border officials to start enforcing the new limit.
Werner Faymann, the Austrian chancellor, refused to back down over the policy despite warnings it is in contravention of the Geneva Convention on refugees.
“Since there are no new developments, this will not be changed,” Mr Faymann said on the sidelines of the EU summit in Brussels, amid signs of growing divisions over how to handle the refugee crisis.
“We have more asylum requests than Italy and many more than France,” Mr Faymman said.
“And anyone who looks at a map knows that these two countries are much bigger than Austria and have more inhabitants.”
Austria has accused other EU member states of not doing enough to help shoulder the burden of the crisis.
Johanna Milk-Leitner, the Austrian interior minister, said on Friday the country could lower the number of asylum claims it will accept even further.
“We have to apply the brakes,” she said.
The policy is “plainly incompatible with Austria’s obligations under European and international law,” Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European migration commissioner, warned Ms Mikl-Leitner in a letter on Thursday.
The quota is believed to be in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as the Geneva convention.
Austria has said it will allow a maximum of a further 3,200 asylum-seekers a day to cross its borders on the way to Germany and other countries.
The move comes as the head of the United Nations refugee agency accused Europe of “complete failure” in dealing with the refugee crisis.
Moves by several European countries to close Greece’s northern borders could create a new crisis in the country, Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, warned.
“Our fear is that the closing of national borders in Europe would mean hundreds of thousands of refugees will mass in Greece. Honestly, if it comes to that, we will need a lot of help,” he told Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.
“Our message to Europe is: get your act together, and take care of this yourselves,” he said.

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