‘Send them all back’: Austrian chancellor demands EU border patrols return every migrant picked up trying to reach Greece to Turkey

  • Chancellor Werner Faymann wants all refugees sent back to Turkey
  • Said police should save those crossing the sea, but then deport them
  • Austria ‘will extend border controls if Turkey does not take them back’
  • Faymann said it’s the only thing that would make radical enough impact 

Chancellor Werner Faymann said border police should save everyone trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach the EU, but then immediately deport them.

He added that  Austria will extend its border controls if Turkey does not take back refugees picked on their way to Greece and returned.

Return policy: Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said border police should send all refugees and migrants trying to enter the EU back to Turkey as this is the only measure that would make enough of an impact

 Faymann, the leader of Austria’s Social Democratic Party, said in an interview that sending back migrants and refugees to Turkey is the only measure that would make a radical enough impact.

‘Frontex [the EU’s border agency] must pick up the people fleeing to Greece. We have to save all of them, but then these people should be sent directly to Turkey,’ Social Democrat Faymann said.

 The left-wing leader said this approach was ‘the only totally effective measure to break the human trafficking’ of migrants, The Local reports.

Austria is set to introduce a new border management system at Spielfeld, a key crossing point on its south-eastern border with Slovenia, which aims at speeding up applications and making the country less attractive to asylum seekers.

More such border management facilities on other routes may be needed if Turkey does not respond to his proposal, the chancellor was quoted as saying.

Faymann said Turkey must make a decision by February 18, when EU leaders meet for a summit.

Arrivals: Refugees and migrants such as this group, who arrived  aboard the passenger ferry at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece, on Sunday, would be forced to return

 Harsh measure: Faymann said EU border police should save everyone trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Greece, but then immediately deport them back to Turkey

 It would not be a solution if Turkish border controls led to 10,000 refugees arriving at EU borders instead of 20,000, Faymann was quoted as saying in the interview.

‘Then we must secure our borders even more,’ Faymann said. ‘To protect internal borders is a makeshift solution. But we have to be prepared.’

Faymann’s comments comes just months after he fiercely criticised Hungary’s managing of the refugee crisis, comparing their methods to the Nazi persecution of Jews during the Holocaust.

During an interview in September, Faymann suggested that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s treatment of the refugees was similar to the deportation of Jews to Nazi death camps.

‘Sticking refugees in trains and sending them somewhere completely different to where they think they’re going reminds us of the darkest chapter of our continent’s history,’ he said, making a thinly-veiled allusion to the way thousands of Hungarian Jews were transported to Auschwitz in 1944.

Austria, which has a population of 8.4 million and last year received 90,000 applications for asylum, has said that the number of refugees it will accept this year will be limited to 37,500.

Ankara and Brussels agreed to slow down the flow of migrants in a deal reached late November last year, but refugees continue to stream into Greece.

More than one million people arrived in Europe last year, fleeing war and failing states in the Middle East and Africa.

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