Asylum seekers in Austria will have to hand over their mobile phones and money as part of an asylum application, Austria’s new conservative and far-Right coalition announced.
Under the plan unveiled after the two parties were sworn in yesterday, Austria will seek to stop illegal immigration and ensure that people whose asylum claims are rejected are quickly deported. Asylum is “temporary protection” only, the policy states.
The money seized by authorities will apparently be used to cover basic care costs, while mobile phone data will be trawled through to clarify identities, the coalition said.
Austria’s far-Right Freedom Party secured its return to power yesterday (MON), as the president swore in the country’s new government amid protests on the streets of Vienna.
Sebastian Kurz, of the conservative People’s Party (OVP), is now the new Austrian chancellor, after he reached a deal with the anti-immigration Freedom Party (FPO), which was founded by former members of the Nazi party, on Friday. Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the nationalist FPO will be the new vice chancellor.
Austria is now the only western European country with a far-right party in government. And at just 31, Kurz is the youngest leader in Europe, after his party won the October 15th election with 32 percent of the vote. The nationalist FPO came third with 26 percent of the vote.
Mr Kurz won the election with a hard line on immigration that overlapped with the FPO. The future leaders presented their approximately 180-page government programme on Sunday, and said that they planned to do things “much better” and that “nobody had anything to fear”.
Mr Strache said on Facebook on Sunday that the new government will also slash benefits for asylum seekers. “It will no longer happen for migrants who have never worked here a single day or paid anything into the social system to get thousands of Euros in welfare,” he wrote.
Austria should be a land of diversity, Mr Kurz also said – but pointed out that it should also have basic values that apply to all. The coalition’s motto is “time for the new”, as they promise to establish a new political style in the country.
In a speech to swear in the new chancellor, President Van der Bellen urged the coalition to adopt a responsible policy, especially towards minorities. “Working with the weakest shows what our values are really worth,” he said.
Around 6,000 people packed out Heroes Square in the centre of Vienna to protest, according to police, waving placards that said “refugees welcome” and “no Nazi pigs”. There was also a heavy police presence, including helicopters and water cannon.