Austria and Switzerland – action plan against illegal migration falsified

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Austria and Switzerland want to cooperate even more closely to combat irregular migration. During a visit by Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP) to his counterpart Karin Keller-Sutter in Switzerland, a joint action plan was decided on Wednesday. There is a need for greater cooperation on priority actions at the common border. In addition, pressure must be exerted on Balkan countries such as Serbia to limit the applicable visa rules.

It has been agreed to intensify joint patrols in cross-border rail traffic and joint targeted searches. Irregular migration has increased significantly in both countries in recent months, the two interior ministers emphasized at a joint press conference in Zurich in the afternoon. No country can tackle this problem alone, which is why the “close alliance” between Austria and Switzerland is necessary, Karner and Keller-Sutter said unanimously. Together, in particular, secondary migration, ie moving on to other countries, must be combated in Europe.

“We don’t solve the problems by transferring migrants from one country to another,” Keller-Sutter said. Switzerland has reported since last year that more and more migrants from Austria are traveling on to Switzerland. On the eastern border and in the south of Switzerland, more and more migrants are currently being rounded up, and Austria has the same problem at its borders, the Swiss interior minister said. The application of the existing readmission agreement between Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein needs to be improved, she emphasized again.

Karner: “Almost dramatic situation”
“We don’t think it’s possible to swing through”, Karner assures, Austria monitors intensively, “we owe that to our neighboring countries.” Karner and Keller-Sutter see the visa policies of some Balkan states, notably Serbia, as the cause of the increased number of asylum applications. Interior ministers criticized the fact that people from India, Pakistan, Tunisia, Burundi and other countries could enter Serbia by plane without a visa and then continue their journey to the EU with smugglers. According to Karner, the asylum applications are practically hopeless. In the first eight months of this year, there were 56,000 asylum applications in Austria, the interior minister said, speaking of an “almost dramatic situation”. Since the beginning of the year, 32,000 negative asylum decisions have already been made.

At the initiative of Austria, a letter is therefore being prepared to the European Commission, asking to put pressure on Serbia to align its visa rules with those of the Schengen area. According to the Interior Ministry, the letter has so far been signed by Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia and Germany. Karner explained that talks are underway with other countries. According to the interior minister, it is essential that the European Commission puts pressure on Serbia.

Of course, there are also bilateral talks with Serbia, but joint EU action is crucial, Karner emphasized. In principle, Austria has a very good basis for talks with Serbia and police cooperation is essential, according to the Minister of the Interior.

With regard to admission to Russian conscientious objection, both interior ministers did not advocate a special arrangement. Asylum applications must be examined in individual proceedings, Karner and Keller-Sutter said unanimously.

Source: Krone

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