Far from the migrant crisis easing over winter and dissipating next year, the Austria interior ministry has predicted another record year to come, as instability persists around the globe.
The last release of immigration statistics shows the flow of migrants is still strong and significantly up on past years, with on average over 3,700 so-called asylum seekers entering Austria a day. In the 31 days from November 21, some 114,988 crossed into the country.
The figures show that despite expectations that cold weather and rough sea conditions in the Mediterranean would slow the ingress of migrants into Europe, the flow of human traffic has in fact “hardly reduced”, reports national newspaper Die Kronen Zeitung. Of the 114,988 who entered Austria this month 7,434 have elected to stay — the majority continuing north to Germany, France, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Sweden among others.
Although the number is small when seen alongside the million migrants who have gone to Germany this year, it is comparatively large for the modest central European nation which has already seen most of their asylum accommodation filled to capacity.
In the past 12 months Austria will have taken on roughly 80,000 asylum seekers according to the interior ministry figures, a fraction of the total who continued on to other nations north. Yet the government is anticipating even more in 2016, with the interior ministry expecting some 120,000, an increase of 50 per cent.
This year has already been a record breaker for migration to Europe, as conflicts in Africa, the near East, and south and central Asia have driven flows of humans to the rich and welcoming nations of the Occident. Yet if the Austrian government figures are borne out across migration Europe could see another bumper crop, with at least a million and a half new arrivals.
This excludes inter-European migration from Balkan nations, nor does it factor in the possibility of the opening of Europe’s borders to 75 million Turkish citizens.
A spokesman for the Austrian interior ministry told press in Vienna of the prediction: “according to our information in 2016 120,000 further refugees in Austria will apply for asylum. Out warnings should finally be taken seriously… European plans alone are not enough, we must put in place our own measures”.