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Austrian Interior Minister: Countries that reject refugee redistribution should lose EU money

31.8.2015 20:04
The truck in which dozens of dead refugees were found on 27 August 2015 in Austria. (PHOTO:  Repro video
The truck in which dozens of dead refugees were found on 27 August 2015 in Austria. (PHOTO: Repro video

Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said today she is in favor of increasing the pressure on EU Member States that disagree with a fair redistribution of refugees among the EU-28. In an interview for ZDF, German public television, she said she would cut off financial aid to such countries if she could.

"There is a need here for all 28 Member States to bear responsibility," the minister emphasized. In her view, there is now a need to consider whether to halt financing for those countries that are not demonstrating solidarity.

One option is for "entitlements to be reduced if there is no responsibility taken for solidarity," she said. "The high number of migrants is an existential challenge to the EU."

"Either Europe will be shipwrecked by this problem with the refugees, or the union will come through it even stronger, namely, thanks to the fair redistribution of refugees," Mikl-Leitner said. She also criticized the building of the fence that Hungary has now undertaken on the border with Serbia in an effort to halt the wave of migrants.

"To rely on a fence deterring refugees is illusory," the minister said. Yesterday the Interior Ministers of Britain, France and Germany all pointed out the urgency of the situation, demanding that the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU convene an extraordinary meeting of EU Interior and Justice Ministers on the migration crisis.

This meeting, according to those calling for it, should take place within the next two weeks. In a joint declaration, Theresa May, Bernard Cazeneuve and Thomas de Maizière urged the rapid creation of a list of so-called "safe countries of origin".  

Planned reception centers for refugees in Greece and Italy should be up and running by the end of the year. Such facilities should make it possible to determine which people are entitled to refugee status because their lives are in immediate danger in their home countries and which people are following economic aims by emigrating.

"We all agree that we must not waste any more time," the ministers emphasized. "The current situation requires immediate negotiations and solidarity within Europe."

ČTK, mik, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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