“We are number two per capita in Europe in terms of the number of asylum applications,” said Schallenberg. Austria currently has numbers of migrants again that are higher than ever before and also higher than all the numbers in neighboring countries. At the same time, Austria is surrounded by Schengen and EU countries. “That shows: the system doesn’t work as such. That’s why there can’t be any bans on thinking. You have to talk about everything.”
Schallenberg regretted that the discussion about migration in the EU was repeatedly politicized and emotionalized. With regard to the recent Italian-French dispute, one has the feeling of “Groundhog Day”. The discussions of 2015 and 2016 repeated themselves.
There are actually good elements in the migration package proposed by the EU Commission to reform the European asylum system. An agreement could be reached on the basis of a system of “solidarity and responsibility,” said Schallenberg. “It’s just a question of political will, and some member states see no need to compromise here.”
Schallenberg sees the cause of the migration crisis in the EU in various interests. There are states that want to let arriving migrants move on as quickly as possible. Quotas and distribution are the wrong approach. In addition, one would now have to come to the conclusion that migrants from Austria would then have to be taken on. “As long as we are stuck in a perpetual circle between quotas and non-quotas, we won’t get any further,” said the Foreign Minister.