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Austria supports UK plan to send migrants to Africa



Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Tuesday said Austria will campaign in the European Union for a new migration policy in which asylum procedures would take place in African countries if necessary.

He made his comments after a working meeting in Vienna with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is behind a UK plan to send migrants without the required immigration papers to Rwanda and have them apply for asylum there.

Nehammer said the British plan played an important and pioneering role in the discussion.

“The United Kingdom is thus paving the way for this path, which will also be important for the European Union,” said Nehammer.

He pointed out those 15 states in the EU that are now in favour of this approach.

Nehammer also said that sending migrants to Africa would destroy the business model of people smugglers and save human lives.

Furthermore, he added that there is still a long way to go in the EU before this type of asylum procedure is actually implemented.

Sunak expressed his delight for the support.

He noted that it is increasingly clear that many other countries now agree that it is the approach that requires a bold, novel and a safe country partnerships,’’ Sunak said.

The UK leader called illegal migration “truly one of the defining issues of our time.”

“We face criminal gangs that are growing in strength across the European continent and beyond,’’ he said.

He called the business of migration a “vile trade.”

Commentators said Sunak’s visit to Vienna is primarily intended to signal that EU states approve of the UK’s controversial migration policy.

A new parliament is due to be elected in the UK this year.

In view of the large gap in the polls, Sunak wants to score political points with a tough crackdown on migration, according to analysts.

In order to circumvent a judgment by the Supreme Court in London, Sunak’s Conservative government had the East African country legally declared a safe third country.

However, opponents criticise the plan as a violation of international asylum agreements.

Halima Sheji

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