International Conference in Vienna Draws Attention to Rising Numbers of Asylum Seekers

More+Events ♦ Published: October 11, 2022; 16:25 ♦ (Vindobona)

An international conference on migration is taking place in Vienna this week. The conference was attended, among others, by the Vice-President of the EU Commission, Margaritas Schinas, as well as the Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Moldova and his counterpart from Albania.

Austria's Interior Minister Karner and Vice-President of the EU Commission Margaritas Schinas. / Picture: © BMI Bundesministerium für Inneres / Karl Schober

The issue of migration has been on everyone's lips in Austria for many years. Starting with the refugee crisis, where thousands of people made their way to Europe after the outbreak of war in Syria, to the increasing number of migrants coming to Austria in recent weeks. Now a conference has opened in Vienna to address the issue of migration to Austria.

The focus of the event is the unprecedented displacement challenge that Europe, along with the rest of the world, is facing at the moment.

Exacerbated by a changing geopolitical landscape and the significant economic impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the Migration Conference programme specialises in the impact of Russia's military aggression and provides a stage for a frank exchange about where we are now - and what comes next.

The conference is organised by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD). Minister of the Interior Gerhard Karner opened the migration conference on 11 October and met for working talks with the Vice-President of the EU Commission as well as the Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Moldova and his counterpart from Albania.On this occasion, he discussed with the Vice-President of the EU Commission Margaritas Schinas to call for further support from the Commission in tightening visa rules in the Western Balkans.

"We had a clear and very good conversation," said the Interior Minister. "Besides Austria, a whole number of member states are affected by rising asylum numbers, so we demand the Commission's support in external border management and in quickly raising the visa rules of the Western Balkan states to EU standards."

Karner said, "Many migrants without a chance of asylum are using this visa-free regime as a gateway to Europe. There are already successes, but we must not let up - that's why I thank Margaritis Schinas for visiting the Western Balkan states and holding relevant talks before his stop in Vienna."

Karner also consulted with Ana Revenco, the Minister of the Interior of Moldova, and Bledar Cuci, his counterpart from Albania. Topics of the talks included the migration situation in the Balkans, the effects of the Ukraine war and police cooperation in the fight against human smuggling.

Karner said: "It is clear to all that a joint effort is needed in the fight against the brutal smuggling mafia - we have to act consistently against the international smuggling mafia, in intensive cooperation with the Republic of Moldova and Albania."

At the "Vienna Migration Conference", the Minister of the Interior addressed the global challenges in migration as well as the current situation in Austria regarding illegal migration and smuggling. "Austria is one of the European states most affected by illegal migration; in absolute figures, we are in fourth place among all EU states," Karner stressed.

BMI - Ministry of the Interior - Bundesministerium fuer Inneres