Austria and the UK Join Forces Against Illegal Migration

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: November 5, 2023; 20:52 ♦ (Vindobona)

A new era of cooperation in the areas of security and migration policy between Austria and the UK was heralded when the Home Secretaries of both countries, Gerhard Karner and Suella Braverman, signed an agreement to combat cross-border crime. This took place during the British Home Secretary's working visit to Vienna, where in-depth discussions were held on the bilateral relationship and the strengthening of internal security.

Oskar Deutsch, Suella Braverman and Gerhard Karner in the City Temple of the Jewish Community. / Picture: © BMI/Karl Schober

The importance of the fight against terrorism was particularly highlighted when Braverman and Karner commemorated the victims of the terrorist attack on November 2, 2020, and then visited the Vienna City Temple. There they discussed Jewish life in Vienna with Oskar Deutsch, President of the Jewish Community. Karner condemned the terrorist attack by Hamas on the Israeli population and emphasized the importance of cross-border cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

Focus on migration and asylum procedures

The discussions also focused on asylum procedures and how to deal with the high number of asylum applications in Austria. The UK and Austria showed interest in the development of asylum procedures in third countries, with the British regulation - similar to the model that was developed with Rwanda - providing for a faster transfer of refugees to other countries.

The signed cooperation agreement deals with increased cooperation in internal security and the fight against human smuggling, asylum abuse, and cross-border crime. This also includes joint efforts against human trafficking, money laundering, and cybercrime.

Controversy and reactions

This initiative is not without controversy. Braverman, who is known in the British media for her tough stances, sees cooperation as a response to the global migration crisis and emphasizes the need to ease the burden on communities and public services. In Austria too, interest in the UK's expertise and its approaches to asylum procedures outside Europe is raising hopes for effective strategies to tackle the challenges of secondary movements.

The future of the agreement and the measures it proposes remains to be seen, particularly in light of the UK Supreme Court's decision on the legality of the Rwanda Plan. What seems clear, however, is the determination of both nations to go hand in hand in the fight against illegal migration and terrorism, thus ensuring the safety of their citizens.

Austrian Minsitry of Interior