By Jonathan Walsh,
By Jonathan Walsh,
Rabat – Government ministers in Austria have announced in a report that they will now consider North African countries including Morocco and Algeria to be safe enough to deport migrants to. This comes in the wake of rising European skepticism towards the refugee crisis.
The announcement is a clear shift in initiative, and comes as far right groups in Austria gain increasing levels of support in their opposition to the Liberal and Conservative coalition government.
In a bid to limit the number of refugees in the country, the report also states that they will place a cap of 127,500 people seeking asylum until 2020, whilst aiming over the same four year period to deport 50,000.
These numbers are in stark contrast to the reported 90,000 refugees Austria took in 2015 alone, and the government had already announced plans to take less than half of this number in 2016 (37,500).
Austrian Interior minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner praised the new change of direction in a statement, saying that whilst Austria are “Among the countries with the most deportations” They will “Step up the pace and increase the upward trend,”
Alongside these developments the report also states that Austria will increase the number of charter flights to repatriate failed applicants of refuge and give them around €500, as a financial incentive, should they accept deportation
Interestingly, Austria’s change of heart also comes less than three weeks after it was reported by PRESS TV that the country has been receiving up to 200 migrants a day from neighboring Germany since the turn of the New Year.
These recent revelations are a far cry from the initial message of hope for refugees sent out by European leaders in the region, and many will feel that now is the time for these leaders to show that they do have a long-term vision for the crisis and are not simply adapting to newly increasing pressures.