EU Army’s First Deployment? Austria Calls For Military-Backed ‘Safe Zones’ in Migrant Origin Countries


Newly elected Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has urged the European Union (EU) to create safe zones within migrant-origin countries and deploy member states’ armed forces to stop the flow of migrants.

Chancellor Kurz, who has been vocal about solving the migrant crisis for many months and has previously called for the closure of the Mediterranean migrant route, also reaffirmed his stance against the redistribution of migrants from countries like Italy and Greece, Deutsche Welle reports.

“Forcing states to take refugees doesn’t take Europe any further. The discussion makes no sense,” Kurz said.

The EU migrant redistribution policy has been heavily resisted by Hungary and Poland over the last year with the bloc taking the matter to court and threatening both nations with potential sanctions and a decrease in EU funding.

“Migrants who set off for Europe don’t want to go to Bulgaria or Hungary. They want to go to Germany, Austria, or Sweden,” Kurz added.

“If [redistributing refugees] isn’t possible, then they should be helped in safe areas on their own continent,” Kurz proposed and noted: “The EU should support that, perhaps even organise it, and back it militarily.”

The idea of creating safe zones within countries like Libya is not a new one. Earlier this year Mr. Kurz, while foreign minister, proposed that the EU should create camps in Libya to stem the tide of migration. His proposals were rejected by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel who called the plan unrealistic.

Since forming a new coalition government with the anti-mass migration populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) earlier this month, Kurz has taken a much more hard line on mass migration and has proposed to increase deportations and decrease incentives for migrants wanting to come to Austria.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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