Austria’s coalition parties in political spat over migration

“We have to continue to give the Western Balkan states a credible prospect of accession,” Kurz said. [EPA-EFE/FLORIAN WIESER]

Austria’s governing ÖVP and Green parties are at odds over the call to tighten migration laws after a 13-year-old girl was murdered, allegedly by two Afghan asylum seekers.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’ ÖVP had called for more resolute action against migrants convicted of crimes, the Greens say the current legal framework is already strict enough.

The asylum law was already tightened up in recent years,” Justice Minister Alma Zadić told the Austrian Newspaper Kronenzeitung. “Our laws offer enough possibilities, we just have to apply them in a consistent manner,” she added.

The ÖVP fired back at the Greens, accusing them of being too soft on migration. Interior Minister Nehammer also told newspaper Österreich that he will push for more rigid migration and repatriation rules at the EU level.

“The EU asylum system is not working,” Nehammer said, emphasising the “migrants who committed criminal offences have to be deported immediately.”

Nehammer said that he wants EU rules to allow for repatriations even if the procedure is still ongoing. The interior minister is currently assessing whether to repatriate asylum seekers to war-torn Syria.

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