Sebastian Kurz rejects EU's mandatory migrant quotasFrom: AnonymousNewsgroups:
Fri, 15 Dec 2017 23:11 UTC
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Austria's chancellor-in-waiting Sebastian Kurz rejects EU's
mandatory migrant quotas
Austria's incoming right-wing chancellor Sebastian Kurz
joined eastern and central European countries on Friday in
backing EU President Donald Tusk's rejection of mandatory
Tusk called the troubled scheme "ineffective" and "highly
divisive", in a letter to EU leaders before a summit in
Brussels that entered its second day Friday.
Eastern European states like Poland, Hungary and the Czech
Republic, which have refused to take part, agree with Tusk
but other including Germany and Greece do not.
"Tusk is right when he says that mandatory migrant quotas in
the EU haven't worked," said Kurz, 31, who is expected to
replace centre-left Chancellor Christian Kern next week.
"I will work towards changing this erroneous refugee
policy," Kurz, currently foreign minister, told the Austria
Press Agency, calling for a "system change".
He said it was "positive that Tusk and other European states
are pressing first and foremost for decent border protection
and spending more EU funds on this".
The quota scheme to share 160,000 migrants around the bloc,
agreed by a majority of EU leaders in 2015, is to help
frontline states Greece and Italy. So far only some 32,000
have been relocated.
The EU has since stalled on formulating plans for a
permanent mechanism for future crises.
EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos called
Tusk's remarks "unacceptable" and "anti-European". They also
drew stinging criticism from European Commission President
Talks among EU leaders in Brussels that ran into the early
hours of Friday failed to narrow the gap between eastern and
western bloc members on the issue.
The stubborn divide contrasted however with broad agreement
to continue shoring up Europe's external borders through
cooperation deals with third countries like Turkey and
Kurz moved his party to the right to come first in elections
in Austria in October. Local media expect him to unveil a
coalition deal with the populist far-right on Saturday.
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