Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has opposed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proposal to link European Union funding to migrant quotas, arguing for stronger borders instead of migrant redistribution.
The Austrian leader slammed Mrs Merkel, saying that while in principle he understands the conditions for European Union aid, “I would just ask, not only to constantly focus on refugees,” Die Welt reports.
Kurz argued that the main focus of the EU should be to strengthen the external borders of the political bloc to stop illegal mass migration, rather than just look at redistributing migrants once they enter.
The remarks strengthen Kurz’s previous opposition to the European Union’s migrant quota system which has been totally rejected by countries like Hungary and Poland who have refused to take part in it.
“I’m convinced that the solution to the migrant problem lies with decent border protection and stronger help in countries of origin,” Kurz, the youngest Chancellor in recent Austrian history, said last month.
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani has agreed with Merkel’s proposal, saying: “If you do not want to follow the rules, you have to pay something,” as EU Budget and Human Rights Commissioner Günther Oettinger.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker raised concerns over the growing ideological split between the western European countries and the central and eastern European states.
“I do not want a new split in Europe, we have enough of that,” he said.
The EU Commission president has made it clear in the recent past that he sees mass migration largely as inevitable, and that Europe needs mass migration from areas like Africa.
“If we don’t offer legal ways of emigrating to Europe, and immigrating within Europe, we will be lost,” Juncker claimed in November 2017.
Juncker and Merkel may find fresh resistance to their migrant policies after the Italian elections next month as the coalition between the populist anti-mass migration Lega party and the conservative Forza Italia, led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, look to seize power.
Both Berlusconi and Lega leader Matteo Salvini have promised to deport hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants and secure the country’s borders.