Austria Should Cut Asylum Numbers by Half

 12 Jan 2017 - 10:24

Austria Should Cut Asylum Numbers by Half
Austrian chancellor Christian Kern delivers a speech on the future of Austria in Wels, Upper Austria, on January 11, 2017. AFP / APA / BARBARA GINDL


Vienna: Austria ought to lower its upper limit for asylum applications it will process to 17,000 - just under half the 35,000 it had planned to this year - conservative Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner proposed Wednesday.
Since authorities have yet to process 14,000 claims filed last year, the drastically lower cap could effectively result in the closure of Austria's borders to asylum seekers.
The cut is necessary in order to properly integrate migrants, Mitterlehner said at a meeting of his People's Party in the town of Poellauberg.
Lowering the threshold would also send a signal to Austrians that the government is responding to sexual assaults and other crimes committed by asylum seekers, and to difficulties that authorities face as they try to send home those who have been rejected, he was reported by German press agency (dpa) as saying.
"I know this is a harsh proposal, but it's a necessary one," he said.