Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl slammed German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her decision in 2015 to welcome migrants, saying it was a “pull factor”, and praised Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for working to secure the European border.
The new minister, who was nominated by the anti-mass migration Freedom Party (FPÖ) but is officially an independent, has been a vocal critic of pro-mass migration policies since the 2015 crisis. Ms. Kneissl said that the European Union needs “comprehensive reform of the entire asylum system and border management”, in an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel.
According to Kneissl, EU member states should be looking to Prime Minister Orbán and his work on preventing illegal migration and who she said was correct for wanting to tighten the borders.
On the subject of refugees, Kneissl said: “Austria has always welcomed people. But you also have to ask yourself from where. I remember when martial law was proclaimed in Poland in my childhood, we suddenly had five Polish children in the school class who had come alone. These were really unaccompanied minors.”
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“I know the same about people who came from Czechoslovakia, from Hungary. Buses full of the elderly, the sick, and children, not men with testosterone congestion. People next door sharing our culture,” she added.
Many migrants who initially came to Northern Europe have become “disappointed” Kneissl said and claimed that many were heading to Italy because of the opportunity to make money on the black market.
Blaming Chancellor Merkel for “inviting” migrants to Europe, Kneissl said: “There are people on the way who would otherwise never have come. I was travelling in the Middle East in autumn 2015 and met many people who said: ‘Merkel called us!’ They gave up their jobs there to go to Europe.”
Kneissl’s statements align with the rest of the Austrian coalition government including Chancellor Sebastian Kurz who has rejected the EU migrant quota system as well as Vice Chancellor and FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache who said last year he wanted to see illegal migration reduced to zero.