Austria feel they have accepted their fair share of asylum seekers
Vienna wants to be removed from the shackles of the sprawling superstate’s failing relocation scheme as the government remains adamant they have already fulfilled their obligations.
The EU introduced the controversial scheme to release pressure on entry point countries like Greece and Italy by spreading the load throughout the bloc based on two key calculations, the size of the population and total GDP.
We believe an exception is necessary for Austria for having already fulfilled its obligation
Christian Kern, Austrian Chancellor
Chancellor Christian Kern said: “We believe an exception is necessary for Austria for having already fulfilled its obligation. We will discuss that with the European Commission.
“We will send a letter as quickly as possible and then begin discussions.”
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The march organized by members of leftist groups was heading to 'Villa Zografou', a building which had been occupied by anti-establishment groups since 2012. Police also earlier raided a second building in central Athens which was used by about 100 refugees and migrants, who were transferred to another location
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The EU did hand Austria a temporary exemption from the agreement due to the large number of people it had taken in during 2016.
However that exemption has now expired and they are being pressured to fulfil the quota of 1,953 refugees.
Austria accepted 90,000 asylum seekers in 2015 which represents more than one per cent of the nations total population.
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Cabinet ministers are worried about the pressure on public services and use Italy as an example of the schemes unfairness.
Italy have taken 1,998 asylum requests per one million citizens, in comparison they pointed out that the number of asylum seekers per capita in Austria amounts to 4,587 people per one million citizens, according to the APA news agency.
Natasha Bertaud, an EU Commission spokeswoman, said: “Austria is now expected to fulfil its legal obligation… to start relocating.
The Austrian defence minister stated his country had exceeded the quota
“No country can unilaterally withdraw from a legally binding decision. Vienna can choose to act outside the law but we would find it deeply regrettable and not without consequences.”
Hans-Peter Doskozil, the Austrian defence minister, proposed in a cabinet meeting that the country had already “exceeded” its quota and they should withdraw from the EU relocation program.
The Polish PM is adamant they will not be blackmailed by the EU
He said: “Austria should “pull out” of the program, as it is already one of the countries that bear the heaviest [refugee] burden.”
Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic make up a political alliance called the Visegrad Group and claim they will not be “blackmailed” into taking refugees by Brussels.
Beata Szydlo, the Polish prime minister, said: "Poland and the Visegrad Group will never agree to this blackmail or to such conditions being dictated.”