Austria says refugee cap is 'wake-up call' for Brussels | Reuters

DAVOS, Switzerland Austria's decision to impose a cap on the number of refugees it accepts is a "wake-up call" for Brussels and raises the chances of a swift deal between European countries on the migrant crisis, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said.

"I am of the view that our measures could help Europe to get an agreement quicker," said Kurz, whose portfolio also includes European affairs and migration. "The steps we have taken are a wake-up call for Brussels that things need to move faster."

Speaking to Reuters in Davos, Kurz rebuffed criticism of the move from Berlin, saying Germany had helped prompt the decision by sending migrants at its border back into Austria.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is under intense pressure at home to introduce a similar ceiling, has called the Austrian move "unhelpful" and her Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere criticised Vienna on Thursday, questioning whether it could even be implemented.

Austria announced on Wednesday that it would cap the number of people allowed to claim asylum this year at 37,500, less than last year's total, and reduce that ceiling annually to 25,000 by 2019.

Its chancellor said border controls would be stepped up "massively", although Kurz said nothing had changed at the border with Slovenia yet.

"The fact that Germany sent refugees on its border with Austria back presented us with an even bigger challenge," Kurz said. "In that sense this was a factor, if you will, that led to higher rather than lower figures."

"Every state must decide for themselves," Kurz added. "I respect the path Germany is going. But I also ask for understanding that we, with 90,000 refugees in the last year, have accepted more per capita than Germany. We are simply overwhelmed."

(Reporting by Noah Barkin; editing by Andrew Roche)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date: Jan 22, 2016 00:31 AM

Also Watch

Social Media Star: Abhishek Bachchan, Varun Grover reveal how they handle selfies, trolls and broccoli
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 It's a Wrap: Soorma star Diljit Dosanjh and Hockey legend Sandeep Singh in conversation with Parul Sharma
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 Watch: Dalit man in Uttar Pradesh defies decades of prejudice by taking out baraat in Thakur-dominated Nizampur village
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 India's water crisis: After govt apathy, Odisha farmer carves out 3-km canal from hills to tackle scarcity in village
  • Sunday, July 15, 2018 Maurizio Sarri, named as new Chelsea manager, is owner Roman Abramovich's latest gamble in quest for 'perfect football'

Also See