Austria Announces Daily Refugee Quotas
Earlier today, Austria announced daily quotas on refugees arriving at its borders. With that announcement, the last hope for Merkel's refugee sharing program finally bit the dust.
The reduction in the number of migrants Austria will accept is staggering. Last year 1,000,000 refugees flowed through Austria. This year Austria will take 37,500.
Merkel's Plan "A" Refugee Sharing Plan Bites the Dust
Please consider Austria Announces Border Clampdown to Slow Migrant Flow.
Austria has announced new restrictions on its borders with Italy and Slovenia, as ministers played down hopes of a common European agreement on managing Europe's largest refugee influx in decades.
"Plan A [sharing refugees across the EU] isn't enforceable and it won't be on Thursday and Friday," Werner Faymann, chancellor of Austria, told reporters in Vienna, as he announced a tightening of restrictions along internal EU borders.
Austria will on Wednesday announce a new daily cap on the number of asylum seekers it will allow into the country, in co-ordination with neighbouring Slovenia. Once the daily limit is reached, asylum seekers will be turned away in line with the Dublin Convention on asylum rules, the official said.
Austria has struggled to cope with the arrival of more than 1m asylum seekers in 2015 alone -- most use the country as a corridor to access Germany after their journey through Greece and the western Balkans.
On January 20, ministers announced the country would only accept 37,500 asylum seekers in 2016 and last week Sebastian Kurz, Austrian foreign minister, said Macedonia should be ready to "completely stop the flow of migrants across its southern border from Greece".
Countries further south along the western Balkans migrant route are now bracing themselves for what Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Austria's interior minister, described as a co-ordinated "domino effect" of border clampdowns. Officials in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia have repeatedly warned they will immediately match border restrictions imposed by any of their neighbours.
"It is important that each country progressively restricts the flow on its border, and that we do this in agreement with each other," Ms Mikl-Leitner said on Tuesday. "The brakes are being applied step by step."
- 1,000,000 a year is 2,739 per day
- 37,500 a year is 102 per day
"Just Say No"
The EU finally has the start of a plan that makes sense. Let's label the plan for the way it needs to work: "Just Say No".
The refugee sharing proposals of Merkel were idiotic from the start. The "Just Say No" approach will lead to bottlenecks for existing refugees but it will stop new inflows.
It will be up to Greece to stop the flows right at the border with Turkey. But the EU should offer fence-building assistance to Greece, whatever it takes, instead of depending on Turkey.
Finally, Greece should be willing to turn away any flotillas that arrive on its shores, just as Australia has done.
The "Just Say No" plan is essentially the same plan I made about six months ago without the catchy name.