Austrian EU presidency will prioritise external border protection over emergency relocation quotas

  • Tomáš Hošek
  • 13.3.2018 13:03

At a 9 March press conference in Vienna, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stated that one of the central themes of the Austria's upcoming EU presidency will be the protection of the EU's external borders. Austria thus aims to shift the debate from the disputed issue of relocation quotas against which the V4 remain vehemently opposed.

Kurz's government has been striving to improve relations with Central European countries, especially with Hungary. On 12 March, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto confirmed the Hungarian-Austrian ideological proximity, suggesting that countries enforcing tougher policies on migration should coordinate their efforts more closely. During its presidency, Vienna will try to fill the ditch between the anti-immigrant Visegrad and the rest of the Union, a rift deepened in particular by the debate on migrant relocation quotas. According to Kurz, the future reform should ensure an automatic mechanism for returning migrants captured in the Mediterranean Sea to Africa instead of moving them to Europe. Another measure could be to strengthen the competencies of the EU border agency Frontex, but the EU Member States have yet to agree on the specific framework for the system, which could be done at the migration and security summit in September.

About author: Tomáš Hošek


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