Austria, Germany at odds over Europe's refugee crisis
by Daily Sabah with AP
IstanbulOct 26, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with AP
Oct 26, 2016 12:00 am
The head of Austria's right-wing party on Monday accused Germany of the refugee crisis in Europe, holding German Chancellor Angela Merkel's liberal migrant policies responsible for the ongoing crisis.
Freedom Party Chairman Heinz-Christian Strache called German Chancellor Merkel "the most dangerous woman in Europe" and warned of a possible civil war if the influx of people seeking a better life within the European Union is not stopped.
The comments by Freedom Party Chairman Heinz-Christian Strache stood in stark contrast to the more moderate views being expressed by Norbert Hofer, the party's candidate for Austria's presidency. Hofer is seeking to appeal to Austrians who do not normally vote for the Freedom Party ahead of the country's Dec. 4 presidential election. The party's traditional supporters include voters disenchanted with the establishment parties, as well as those on the neo-Nazi fringe.
Strache on Monday depicted Hofer as a president "who will be there for all Austrians." But the harsh tone of his comments appeared to aim more at the established Freedom Party backers as he warned that the "uncontrolled influx of migrants alien to our culture who seep into our social welfare system ... makes civil war in the medium-term not unlikely."
After an influx of almost 900,000 migrants last year, some Germans fear their country is being overrun by foreigners. Merkel has attracted criticism for her open-door refugee policy and her conservatives have lost some support to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD).
Germany saw 890,000 asylum-seekers arrive last year. The influx has slowed drastically, with only 213,000 newcomers arriving in the first nine months of this year.
Merkel, whose long-stellar approval ratings have taken a dive amid the refugee crisis, came under fresh fire over her pro-immigration policy stance. Merkel is suffering from low popularity, cutting a lonely figure in her struggle for resisting pressure to change her refugee policy.
In a bid to deal with lowering support for the conservative government, the German government will toughen its stance over refugees through preparing a new draft legislation that will make it harder for migrants denied asylum to stay in Germany.