Austria’s Kurz: ‘Afghans must not come to Europe’

Sebastian Kurz, the Chancellor of Austria has issued a stern warning to Afghan migrants looking to reach Europe following the country’s fall to the Taliban.  

Speaking at a press conference alongside his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vučić, Kurz said those fleeing the Taliban need to stay in “neighbouring countries” and not make their way to Europe.

Non-EU Serbia lies at the eastern doorway to the bloc and has had to tackle waves of unauthorised migration in recent years. According to the UN, 1.5 million migrants have passed through the Balkan country since 2015, when Angela Merkel made her fateful decision to welcome the world to Europe.

Frau Merkel will step down as Chancellor of Germany after this month’s federal elections – which her party could easily lose – Britain and the Continent will continue to live with the consequences, however.

“Those who leave Afghanistan have a clear goal: Western Europe and the United States. Not many want to stay in the Western Balkans. We will show solidarity with everyone, but we will not be the place where they can park,” said Vučić at the press conference.

His message was echoed by Kurz. “If there are waves of migration from Afghanistan, migrants must be taken care of in neighbouring countries. That is why we are in contact with countries in this region,” said the Chancellor.

“They must not go to Europe.”

Another European nation that is both wealthy and small with no pretensions to global leadership is Denmark.

Yesterday, this site reported on the decision by Denmark’s left-wing government to make migrants labour for their benefits. Prime minister, Mette Frederiksen has caused outrage in Brussels this year for introducing a programme to send back Syrian refugees. Last month, the country’s immigration minister told a Swedish newspaper: “My dream is zero asylum seekers”.

Kurz is on the same page. A week after Kabul fell to the Taliban, the young Chancellor said he was “clearly opposed” to “voluntarily taking in more people”.

“That will not happen during my chancellorship,” he added firmly.

Austria is already home to 40,000 Afghan asylum seekers, only Germany has more with 148,000, but its population is nine times bigger.

Referring to the massive numbers of migrants in Austria, Kurz said his country had “made a disproportionately large contribution” and noted that neighbouring Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have only taken 14 and 13 Afghan migrants respectively.