Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz wants to see the European Union border agency Frontex expand its operations into North Africa to help battle illegal migration.
Chancellor Kurz said over the weekend that he also wanted to see the EU’s border agency increase its personnel to 10,000 and that Frontex needed a new mandate in order to work with local governments in third countries to prevent the mass flow of illegal migrants, Kronen Zeitung reports.
While the EU already has plans to increase the number of Frontex agents by 2027, Kurz argued that the increase needed to happen much sooner saying: “The target date of 2027 is far too late: it must be much faster if we want to effectively prevent illegal migration in the future.”
“In addition, Frontex needs a clear political mandate, which allows employees to take effective action against illegal migrants,” he added.
Austria’s Kurz Slams Merkel for Linking EU Funding to Migrant Quotas https://t.co/AgacAnVodj
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 25, 2018
Kurz said that Frontex needed to focus on destroying the business model of human traffickers and that illegal migrants should immediately be sent back to their country of origin.
The Austrian Chancellor’s comments come only days after Austrian Vice-Chancellor and leader of the populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) Heinz-Christian Strache slammed Frontex calling the agency a “people-trafficking organisation” following a meeting in Brussels.
Mr. Kurz also brought up the controversial EU migrant redistribution policy, which was rejected by several Central European countries like Poland and Hungary, saying that the discussion on the matter must end due to the lack of agreement among the member states.
“I do not see that Austria can agree to refugee quotas, especially if they do not take into account the influx of previous years,” Kurz said reaffirming his stance which he made clear to German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this year.
While migrant numbers have largely reduced compared to 2015, many still fear the possibility of the crisis returning as Croatia recently warned of 60,000 migrants trying to reach Western Europe through the Balkans and over the last weekend alone 500 migrants were picked up off the coast of Spain.