Europe – Migrants – Austria – EU

Reducing Migrants ‘Question of Survival for EU’: Austria

Reducing Migrants ‘Question of Survival for EU’: Austria
Wed Feb 24, 2016 19:40:25

Reducing the flow of migrants is a “question of survival” for the European Union, Austria’s interior minister said Wednesday as she pressed Balkan countries in Vienna to help cut the record influx.

“We have to reduce the influx now. This is a question of survival for the EU,” Johanna Mikl-Leitner said after talks in Vienna with ministers from nine countries along the west Balkans route from Greece towards northern Europe.

Vienna has come under fire for organizing Wednesday’s talks, not least from Greece which was not invited, and for imposing last week daily limits on the number of migrants who can apply for asylum in Austria or transit to other countries.

But Vienna says that the measures are necessary because the 28-nation EU has failed to get off the ground any effective common response to the continent’s biggest refugee crisis since 1945.

“I am optimistic that we can reach a joint EU response. The question is when,” Mikl-Leitner told a news conference.

“We want to generate pressure so that the EU can reach a solution ... A partnership with Balkan countries is not only in the interest of these countries but also of the EU. We want to generate pressure and urgency,” she said.

Mikl-Leitner also announced the creation from April 1 of an international command center with Interpol and Europol based in Vienna to combat people-smugglers, AFP reported.

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