Right-wing party files criminal complaint against Austrian government over refugee crisis

Heinz Christian Strache [Franz Johann Morgenbesser/Flickr]

The chairman of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) has brought a criminal complaint against the Austrian government for its handling of the refugee crisis. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Heinz-Christian Strache said that his party believes that the government’s approach to dealing with the mass movement of people has been an example of “gross negligence”. In their opinion, the government has “broken the law every day”.

Strache told Austrian television that he would file a criminal complaint against the Chancellor Werner Faymann and the interior and defence ministers Johanna Mikl-Leitner and Gerald Klug, as well as representatives of Austrian railways (ÖBB).

The charge against the federal railways could be down to the fact that its CEO, Christian Kern, has regularly been touted as a successor to Faymann.

>>Read: German Minister of Justice compared to Goebbels by PEGIDA leader

Strache lashed out at supposed unregulated access, missed security checks, erroneous refugee statistics and the tightening of an asylum law that is merely “a placebo to mask failure”. Indeed, the list of allegations also accuses the state of acting as a “trafficking organisation”. Additionally, it forwards the opinion that many of the people making their way along the Western Balkans route are not actually “refugees”.

The EU also comes in for strong criticism, with the message to Brussels saying that it is the Union that has caused the problems. The Hungarian government’s refugee policy, however, is held up as an exemplary model to dealing with the crisis. Victor Orbán’s approach to dealing with the influx of people is the right-wing populist party’s preferred method, including the use of fences and border-patrols.

>>Read: Austria shelves border fence

Moreover, Strache wants to establish so-called “extraterritorial reception zones” on the border. Here, new arrivals would be registered, their fingerprints recorded and those unable to provide identification or prove that they are a genuine refugee would be deported immediately. How this would actually function and where the money for such a measure would come from, was left open by the FPÖ chairman.

The interior ministry has accepted the fact that it is the prime target for political attacks and has resigned itself to its role as a “lightning rod”. Police experts will soon submit a plan for organising the logistics of the border crossings in the Austrian regions of Styria and Carinthia, in order to best optimise the processing of refugees.

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