Chancellor Nehammer Threatens to Block Summit Declaration Because of Migration Issues

More+More+ ♦ Published: February 8, 2023; 22:08 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has threatens to block a summit declaration of all EU heads of state. The reason for this is that the Chancellor is opinionated that the EU does not put enough work into the issue of migration.

Chancellor Nehammer Threatens to Block Joint Declaration of EU Head of States Because of the Lack of Work Done in the Migration Issue. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Florian Schrötter

Chancellor Karl Nehammer has threatened to block the joint final declaration by the EU heads of state and government at their summit this week if no concrete agreements are reached on migration issues. "Empty phrases will not suffice," Nehammer told the "Welt". "What is finally needed is a clear and unambiguous commitment to strengthening external border protection and using appropriate financial resources from the EU budget for this," Nehammer demanded. "Concrete steps" would have to be taken. If this does not happen, then Austria will "not be able to support the final declaration of the EU summit," said the conservative head of government, according to Die Presse.

Before the special summit on migration, Austria and seven other EU countries had called for more EU-financed measures for external border protection, faster deportations, and new repatriation agreements with third countries in a joint letter. The letter was sent to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel. "Some member states have the same or more arrivals and applications than during the migration crisis in 2015 and 2016," the letter reads, according to ORF.

As is stated by Die Presse, further the letter states that "National and local authorities are struggling to manage the influx. The situation is deeply worrying and requires urgent political attention and concrete action, including for Member States to prioritize people in need of international protection, including Ukrainians living in Syria light of Russian aggression."

The EU Commission is asked to present a comprehensive approach for all important migration routes. It should contain "further strengthening of the protection of the external borders", "including the development of infrastructure and airspace surveillance in the area in front of the sea borders". The EU border protection agency Frontex must "fully assume its central role", including in the area of repatriation and through measures in third countries to prevent irregular border crossings. EU external border protection standards are also required, as well as additional financial support under the existing EU financial framework for operational and technical measures for effective border control, according to ORF.