Austria Announces ‘Border Protection Unit’ to Manage Migration

A picture taken in the village of Spielfeld, Austria, on February 20, 2017 shows a border crossing at the Austrian-Slovenian border. / AFP / Rene Gomolj (Photo credit should read RENE GOMOLJ/AFP/Getty Images)

Austrian populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) Interior Minister Herbert Kickl has announced the creation of a new border force which he said will “ensure orderly border management”.

The new force would be used to manage the flow of asylum seekers coming into the country, Interior Minister Kickl said in an interview last week with Austrian newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung.

“We already have effective monitoring that works well. But what certainly cannot happen is a repetition of the year 2015,” Kickl said referring to the height of the migrant crisis when hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers travelled through Austria to reach Germany.

Kickl described the border guard as a “police standby force” and said they will secure the border and perform identity checks.

During the interview, Kickl also slammed the baby-boomer progressive generation, commonly known in Europe as the ’68ers after the Paris protests of May 1968.

“The project of the ’68ers failed. We are now experiencing a counter-movement, not only in Austria. And that’s just as well. For me, this is a return to normality,” Kickl said and added: “The 68ers tried to be destructive in the name of progress. Consider the erosion of state identity or the identity of the family network.”

“This government stands for an offensive counter-proposal. The theses of the ’68ers have turned out to be wrong. The need for orientation, security, and homeland has been put back in a positive light by us,” he said.

Probably one of the most controversial ministers in the new Austrian government, Herbert Kickl is known for his fiery rhetoric and played a large part in the FPÖ’s recent successful election campaign.

Earlier this month, Kickl made his first controversial statement as interior minister proposing that asylum seekers in Austria should be “concentrated” in certain areas so authorities could provide them better services and keep track of them. He was slammed by the media who accused him of using “Nazi rhetoric”.

Strong borders have been a focus for the new Austrian government with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz recently reaffirming his commitment to the idea resulting in a clash with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over migrant quotas in a recent trip to Berlin.

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


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