New Austrian Gov’t Promises ‘Sanctions’ Against Migrants Who Don’t Integrate

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Austria’s incoming conservative government is taking a hard line on immigration by promising “sanctions” against those “refusing to integrate.”

Sebastian Kurz, 31, is set to become the world’s youngest leader after winning the parliamentary election in October with his People’s Party. Kurz will serve as chancellor with support from the populist Freedom Party.

A new platform unveiled Monday calls for faster deportations and a halt to illegal immigration. The main emphasis for migrants will be put on integrating to Austrian society by adopting local values. Monthly payments to migrants will be cut to 365 euros ($432 USD) with the possibility of earning an “integration bonus” of 155 euros ($184 USD).

“We want to protect our homeland Austria as a liveable place with all its cultural assets,” the new government’s platform reads, according to The Local. “This includes deciding for ourselves who can immigrate and live with us and ending illegal immigration.”

The new government has also proposed reforms that would allow authorities to access migrants’ cell phones to verify their identity and travel routes. Migrants may also be asked to hand over any cash and belongings as they enter the country to help fund their welfare.

An estimated 5,500 people marched against the new government Monday in the capital of Vienna. Protestors shouted “Nazis out” and “Refugees welcome” in response to the Freedom Party’s role in the new administration. The protests were small compared to the last time the Freedom Party entered government in 2000, when an estimated 150,000 participated in demonstrations.


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