In recent weeks, Austria has found itself at the centre of the migration crisis in Europe. About 80,000 people are expected to seek asylum in the country this year – up from 28,000 people in 2014 and 17,000 the year before. It is the first western European country that migrants pass through on long overland journeys from Iraq and Afghanistan, but mostly Syria. About 3 million people from the conflict-ridden country have fled the civil war. All must begin their attempt to be granted asylum at the Traiskirchen centre just outside the capital, Vienna. Currently, about 4,800 people are housed in the former army barracks which has played host to refugees since the 1960s. But it was only built to house 1,000 people. The high number coming across the border from Hungary means that many are now sleeping in the offices of the police training academy next door, and at least 1,500 people are sleeping in tents outside. Amnesty International’s Heinz Patzelt recently described … [Read more...] about How Austria has become central to Europe’s migration crisis
The main train station in the Austrian city of Salzburg may have to close due to the large numbers of people arriving as refugees and seeking to travel on to Germany, authorities have said, calling the situation “tense”. The warning came two days after Berlin reintroduced border controls, slowing down the passage of thousands of migrants from Austria into Germany and causing major road and rail disruption. “The biggest problems are being created at present by the large number of people being brought privately [to Salzburg station] in cars and buses,” said a statement from the state of Salzburg, comprising the city and the surrounding area. “If this continues in this way a closure of the main train station may become necessary as a last resort,” it said, citing safety concerns caused by the large numbers of people inside the station. The Austria Press Agency reported that hundreds of migrants were brought to the station in western Austria on Tuesday … [Read more...] about Salzburg authorities say refugee pressure may shut down train station
Nativism, according to the OED, is prejudice in favour of natives against strangers, which in present-day terms means a policy that will protect and promote the interests of indigenous or established inhabitants over those of immigrants. This usage has recently found favour among Brexiters anxious to distance themselves from accusations of racism and xenophobia. Officially, at least, it’s a bad thing. To Ukip’s only MP, Douglas Carswell, his party’s posters of queuing refugees represented nativism at its worst, and in his Clacton-on-Sea constituency he had them all taken down. To him, and others such as the MEP Daniel Hannan, Brexit has its foundations in the philosophies of Adam Smith and Edmund Burke, and absolutist beliefs in free trade and sovereignty: race and immigration have nothing to do with it. Carswell appears a solitary and rather friendless figure: an officer who got into the wrong, rough-crewed lifeboat. But at least he’s probably sincere. … [Read more...] about We called it racism, now it’s nativism. The anti-migrant sentiment is just the same
During a break in a working day recently, Rainer Maring decided on impulse to take his apprentice for a mini history lesson. The pair of German painters and decorators got in the company van at lunchtime and took their ham sandwiches across the river Mosel from Germany to Luxembourg, into the vine-clad village of Schengen. You cross the bridge from Germany into Luxembourg, turn left, and 300 metres on you’re in France – three countries in about three minutes, and not a police officer in sight. In 1985, ministers from five governments met here to launch a bold experiment in border-free travel. Cars and lorries with green dot stickers on their windshields could roam the five countries – the same three plus Belgium and the Netherlands – without passports. The ID-free travel zone became fully fledged in 1995 and kept growing. And the village acquired unexpected pride and renown as the birthplace of a free travel regime that now embraces 26 countries from Iceland to … [Read more...] about Is the Schengen dream of Europe without borders becoming a thing of the past?
As new statistics published by the ONS show another drop in the number of people coming to the UK from the EU to work, remember the government’s immigration white paper? It was originally due to appear over a year ago – but like so many other decisions, remains a casualty of Westminster disagreement and delay. The latest promise is that it will finally be unveiled in the “autumn”, a vague date meaning any time before December, provided warring ministers can agree on its details and publication. For businesses across the UK, who have spent over a year in the dark about immigration rules and costs they’ll face, this unconscionable delay makes it impossible to plan with confidence. We have been told to wait for the outcome of Brexit negotiations – since so many of the questions about future business conditions are tied up in the presently stalled talks with Brussels. Yet the UK’s post-Brexit immigration policy is almost entirely within the … [Read more...] about Britain can’t wait any longer for a post-Brexit immigration policy