Migrant aid groups in Austria are facing insolvency as the government withdraws their funding.
A government scheme, begun last October, to fund charities and non governmental organisations (NGOs) to ease the burden of the migrant crisis will be over at the end of the month reports Kronen Zeitung.
The Interior Ministry says that the funding policy was agreed upon in October was a special policy and that charities will need to renegotiate with the government if they want a new deal. The government is calling on the NGOs to reveal how much money they have received in donations since September 4th 2015, and precisely how much of that has been going toward migrants and not administration salaries.
A government spokesman said that the ministry needed to take a closer look into the donations of the charities because of tax implications charitable donations can have. In Austria up to half of a charitable donation can be used to reduce a person’s tax burden and so the government wants to be sure tax payers’ money is going toward its intended purpose and not just into the pockets of those running the NGOs.
Authorities said that tax payers have a right to make sure the government is diligent and thrifty with their money, and that taxpayers should not have to pay money into charities if the money is not being spent on intended purposes.
A total of 12 NGOs received the news from the government. Many are not pleased, calling the move an “attack on donations”. Head of the Austrian Red Cross, Gerry Foitik went further, saying that it could lead some of the organisations “to the brink of insolvency.”
The organisations affected include the Red Cross, Volkshilfe Wien, Train of Hope and the Islamic charity, Islamic Federation.
The Islamic Federation in Vienna. which controls around 59 mosques, has ties to numerous international Islamic networks. It is connected to several Islamic kindergartens in Vienna said to have become a breeding ground for radicalisation among Muslim school children, where Salafist radical Muslims preach and at least one worker was found to have tried to join the Islamic State.
The spokesman for fund-raising organisation Verband Austria said that there would be less need for NGOs if the government was properly able to handle the migrant crisis. He called the government policy a failure, saying: “if the state begins to abuse charitable organisations for their own purpose, then they will stop things like civil society or charitable activity.”