Austria Refuses to Take More Boat Migrants After Ship of 450 Arrives in Europe

Debate over migrants divides EU; Mini-summit seeks solutions

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has made clear his strong stance on unlimited mass migration after he refused to take part in an EU-wide effort to distribute the migrants of a fishing boat that landed on an Italian island Monday.

Writing in a letter to his Italian opposite number Giuseppe Conte, the leader of Austria’s Conservative-Populist coalition pointed to the already remarkable generosity of his nation in taking in hundreds of thousands of migrant arrivals during the course of the Europe migrant crisis.

Kurz wrote that Austria had “accepted more than 150,000 asylum applications since 2015, making it one of the highest levels of solidarity in the EU [per capita], while many other EU member states have so far received very few asylum seekers… Austria will therefore not participate in additional redistribution”, reports Kronen Zeitung.

Calling on the nations of Europe to work harder to prevent illegal migration to the continent, Kurz also pointed to the fact that migrant ships could be sent to countries outside of the European Union to disembark their human cargo.

The comments came after 450 migrants were picked up from a wooden fishing boat on Saturday, and brought to Sicily to disembark onto European territory. France, Malta, Germany, Spain, and Portugal have all agreed to take a small proportion fo the migrants each, while Libya, the Czech Republic, and now Austria have refused.

Breitbart London reported this week on the strongly worded statement of the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš who said to accept the migrants would put his nation on the “road to hell”. Babiš explained that accepting the trafficked migrants who had been sent accross the Mediterranean by criminals “only motivates smugglers and increases their income”, and that Europe had to now work to return illegal migrants “immediately”.

Despite a slowdown of crossings over the Mediterranean after the peak of the migrant crisis, numbers are once again rising, with 3,580 migrants making the voyage from Libya to Italy in the first three weeks of January and people trafficking now accounting for nearly 40 per cent of the Libyan economy.

While the crossing remains risky for economic migrants paying smugglers for their passage, it has taken on a new level of risk for rescue ship crews as well. Breitbart London reported in July of a ship which was taken over by migrant passengers who took the crew hostage and demanded the ship be sailed for Europe, rather than back to Africa. The incident was subsequently described as piracy.

Oliver JJ Lane is the editor of Breitbart London — Follow him on Twitter and Facebook


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