Austrian Interior Minister Says He Wants to ‘Concentrate’ Migrants in Specific Areas to Keep Austrians Safe

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen (R) and Austrian Interior Minister Herbert Kickl sign the letter of appointment during the inauguration ceremony of the new Austrian government at the Hofburg in Vienna, Austria, on December 18, 2017. Austria's far-right Freedom Party is set to round off a triumphant year for …

Austrian Interior Minister Herbert Kickl has said he would like to “concentrate” migrants into specific places to better keep track of them and keep Austrians safe.

Mr. Kickl said that moving migrants into basic care centres would give them better care options but has been criticised for his use of the term “concentration” in his comments, Kronen Zeitung reports.

Interior Minister Kickl, a leading member of the anti-mass migration Freedom Party (FPÖ), defended his language saying that he “intended no provocation” and blamed journalists for looking too far into his wording.

“It’s just a concept,” Kickl said and noted that asylum seekers would benefit from better infrastructure and said it would be in the common interest to come to a conclusion on the subject as soon as possible.

The FPÖ, which entered a coalition with the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) last month, has always spoken out against mass migration with FPÖ leader, and current vice chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache giving a speech last year calling for no migration at all.

The leader of the ÖVP and Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz recently announced a stricter asylum policy which will see asylum seekers receive less in state benefits and hand over cash and other valuables to cover basic care costs.

Chancellor Kurz has also rejected the European Union migrant redistribution quota system agreeing with President of the European Council Donald Tusk that the quotas have failed and have caused strife among member states within the union.

“Tusk is right when he says that mandatory refugee quotas have not worked in the EU, so I will argue that this incorrect refugee policy is changed,” Kurz said.

Late last month Kurz also voiced his opinion on ending the flow of migrants coming from Africa into Italy and Spain. He argued that the EU should set up safe zones within countries and that these areas of non-conflict should be enforced by European military might if needed.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)