Austrian ministers have agreed to ban the full face veil
The country’s chancellor Christian Kerr announced “the full-face veil will be banned in public spaces”, including schools and courts, over the next 18 months.
The agreement to ban full face veils was made between the ruling coalition of the centrist People’s party and centre-left Social Democrats in a bid to counter growing support from far-right Freedom Party (FPO) within Austria.
A new 35-page document added migrants living in Austria will have to agree to an “integration contract” and a “statement of values”.
Migrants entering Austria will have to attend classes for 12 months, where they will then have to pass German language test. Migrants will also have to undertake a separate test to deem whether they have assimilated with Austrian values, according to Austrian government documents.
The ‘integration law’ also includes mandatory attendance of German value courses for all refugees and migrants arriving in Austria. Those who refuse to attend the courses, would be ‘fined’ by having their social benefits cut, the draft proposal says.
While there is no specific ban on headscarfs for civil servants, which was touted by far-rights groups, the guidance does insist employees “present themselves as religiously neutral”.
Norbert Hofer narrowly missed out on winning the Austrian presidency
Details on how Austria will boost its security services has also included in the document.
The proposals read: “Those who are not prepared to accept Enlightenment values will have to leave our country and society.”
Kern added that he did not want to create conditions which gave “600,000 Muslims in Austria the feeling that they are not part of our society.”
The government has also laid out plans to lower taxes, restrict access for foreign workers and create a further 70,000 new jobs.
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Christian Kerr appeared at a press conference to announce the proposals
Austria’s far-right FPO party has seen a surge of support in recent years as Norbert Hofer just missed out on clinching the presidency.
The ban follows a similar measure implemented by France more than six years ago – the first EU country to ban the burka and niqab in public places.
Angela Merkel also called for the veil to be banned as she began her campaign for a fourth term as Chancellor.