Austrian FM Sebastian Kurz said: We expect that Germany will say whether or not it is prepared to take refugees and how many. It seems this is a direct challenge for Chancellor Angela Merkel but also for EU approach toward refugee crisis. How do you see this, what could the position of Austrian mean for refugee crisis? Read few comments.
Angeliki Dimitriadi, Visiting Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations
I think the Austrian move undermines all efforts made so far to have a collective mechanism in place in dealing with the refugee crisis.
We are already seeing selective entry at border crossings throughout the W.Balkans . There have been reports that Serbia is starting deportations, allowing men and women under 14 and over 60 to apply for asylum but men between 14 and 60 are fingerprinted and orders to leave Serbia. Bulgaria has announced it will deport Afghans.
So aside from the obvious pressure that will increase in Greece with people being returned and also continuing to enter via Turkey, countries along the route are showcasing a blatant disregard for international and European law plus unwillingness to seek a European solution.
The Austrian move is also a challenge to Germany. If Germany keeps the borders open it will continue to receive refugees pushed through via Austria. If it opts for a quota system and closure of the border it will be seen as implicit recognition of failure of the Chancellor’s efforts for a European solution and I fear it will only strengthen the resolve of partner countries to continue down the road of unilateralism. In other words Germany is between a rock and a hard place.