Herbert Kickl and the FPÖ: Propagating "Fortress Austria"

PeopleOther ♦ Published: November 15, 2023; 23:49 ♦ (Vindobona)

Herbert Kickl, the chairman of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), is already in an election campaign mood and reiterated his critical stance on migration and asylum policy in Austria and Europe at a press conference. In clear terms, he called for an "asylum stop" and the implementation of a "Fortress Austria". His rhetoric was aimed at a strict demarcation policy and an election victory.

FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl devoted a press conference to a key blue issue in order to create a mood for the election campaign. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / C.Stadler/Bwag / CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Kickl criticized the federal government and the SPÖ for their approach to dealing with asylum seekers, particularly regarding the Middle East conflict and anti-Semitic attacks, which he sees as the consequences of a failed asylum policy. He accused other political parties of hypocrisy and called for a tougher line on migrants, particularly from countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, and Morocco. Kickl claimed that responsibility for asylum seekers should lie with the nearest safe countries, not Austria.

The FPÖ, under Kickl's leadership, has positioned itself as a staunch opponent of the current asylum policy. Kickl also criticized the ÖVP's asylum code and described its initiatives as untrustworthy and "voter fraud". He claimed that the FPÖ had implemented a more effective asylum policy during his time as Interior Minister and pointed to a decline in asylum applications during his time in office.

Kickl also attacked the SPÖ, accusing it of contributing to the destruction of Austrian society with its asylum and immigration initiatives. The SPÖ defended itself against these accusations, with its federal managing director Klaus Seltenheim criticizing Kickl as an ineffective interior minister who had failed to take essential measures to protect the EU's external borders.

The debate surrounding asylum and migration policy in Austria is a key issue in the country's political landscape. Kickl's harsh rhetoric and his calls for a more restrictive asylum policy illustrate the polarized views on this issue. The FPÖ under his leadership emphasizes the need for strict border protection and a restrictive migration policy to, as they claim, protect Austria's social and economic systems. In any case, the FPÖ is making huge preparations for next year's election campaign and is trying to appear confident of victory.