Tuesday’s World #2: AUSTRIA’S Chancellor calls for “safe zones” to address migrant crisis
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on (December 23) said the EU should consider other ways to tackle migration crises and formally end “failed” attempts at redistributing migrants across the EU under a quota system.“Forcing states to take refugees doesn’t take Europe any further. The discussion makes no sense,” Kurz told the Saturday edition of Berlin-based newspaper Bild.“Migrants who set off for Europe don’t want to go to Bulgaria or Hungary. They want to go to Germany, Austria or Sweden.”More than one million people entered the EU illegally in 2015 and 2016, many of them fleeing conflict and extreme poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. …Kurz, who before being elected Chancellor served as Austria’s foreign minister from 2013-17, has been a vocal critic of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy to refugees, saying it challenges the fabric of European society. At 31, he is the world’s youngest national elected leader.
Kurz has instead proposed that the EU consider providing support militarily to refugees by establishing secure conditions in their countries of origin, (a policy known as “safe zones”).De-escalation zones, also known as “safe zones,” have been implemented in Syria since earlier this year. They represent areas in which warring parties agree to not engage in combat, consequently establishing a secure place for humanitarian groups to serve those displaced by conflict.“If (redistributing refugees) isn’t possible, then they should be helped in safe areas on their own continent,” Kurz said. “The EU should support that, perhaps even organize it, and back it militarily.”Last week, Kurz said in a Time magazine op-ed that the “robust control of the European Union’s external borders remains a prerequisite if we want to find sustainable solutions for the migration crisis.”