Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has expressed the urgent need for the European Union (EU) to address its dysfunctional asylum system to avoid another migration crisis like the one in 2015. In an interview with Welt am Sonntag, Nehammer criticized the current EU regulations, stating that the bloc’s “asylum system has been broken for years” and called for immediate action. While he acknowledged that European policymakers are finally beginning to discuss migration with a greater sense of reality, he emphasized that there is still a long way to go.
Nehammer highlighted migration as a serious issue that must be addressed at the European level, as irregular migration has the potential to divide and even destroy the EU. To tackle this problem, he proposed a series of changes, including the establishment of effective border protection, expediting asylum procedures both at the EU’s external borders and in third countries, and negotiating agreements with other nations to enable the swift deportation of migrants.
The chancellor strongly opposed an initiative supported by Germany and the EU Parliament that would exempt women with children from the proposed practices. He argued that such an exemption would incentivize women and children to embark on dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean and be handed over to unscrupulous traffickers by their relatives. Nehammer warned that granting protection to these individuals would ultimately encourage the entire family to migrate to Europe.
According to EU data, there has been a significant increase in asylum applications between June 2022 and May 2023, putting the number on track to approach the record levels of the 2015 crisis when 1.3 million migrants sought refuge in the EU. In 2022 alone, the bloc received nearly one million asylum applications, with the majority originating from Syria, Afghanistan, and Turkey. Additionally, the EU’s social welfare system is under considerable strain from the influx of refugees who fled to the EU from Ukraine.
It is evident that urgent action is required to address the EU’s broken asylum system and prevent another migration crisis from destabilizing the entire bloc. Chancellor Nehammer’s proposed changes aim to establish effective border control, expedite asylum procedures, and facilitate swift deportations. However, there is opposition to exempting women with children from these measures due to concerns of encouraging illegal migration and putting vulnerable individuals at risk. It is crucial for European policymakers to work together to find a comprehensive solution that balances the need for security with humanitarian considerations.
The sharp increase in asylum applications highlights the pressing nature of the issue and the strain it puts on the EU’s resources and social welfare system. The EU must develop a proactive and coordinated approach to migration, addressing the root causes, strengthening external border control, and improving reception and integration measures for refugees. Failure to do so could result in further division within the EU and potentially threaten its stability.
Overall, it is clear that the EU must urgently address its dysfunctional asylum system to prevent another migration crisis and protect the stability of the bloc. The proposed changes put forward by Chancellor Nehammer provide a starting point for discussions, but further collaboration and action are needed to achieve a comprehensive solution. It is crucial for EU member states to come together and establish a coherent approach that both safeguards the bloc’s security and upholds its humanitarian values.