Austria Wants EUR 600 M from EU to Cover Extra 2015 Asylum CostsEU | February 7, 2016, Sunday // 12:54| views
Two Austrian soldiers patrol along the Slovenian-Austrian border during a visit of Austrian Minister of Defense Hans Peter Doskozil at a temporary camp at the Slovenian-Austrian border, near the village of Spielfeld, Austria, 29 January 2016. Photo EPA/BG
Austria has asked the European Commission for EUR 600 M to cover the costs related to providing care for a larger-than-expected number of asylum seekers accepted by the country last year.
The request had been sent by Austrian Finance Minister Hans J?rg Schelling to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on January 25, Austrian daily Kurier reported on Saturday.
In the letter, Schelling said that while Austria could provide care for about 35,000 asylum seekers per year, some 90,000 had arrived in 2015.
With costs of EUR 11,000 per refugee, Austria had to spend an unbudgeted EUR 600 M to provide housing and care for the additional 55,000 asylum seekers.
Austria accepted 28,000 asylum seekers in 2014. Last year’s surge in migrant and refugee influx to Europe made Austria one of countries taking in most asylum seekers on the continent relative to its population of 8.7 milllion.
In a related development, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has said that the EU's border agency Frontex should send back to Turkey the migrants it picks trying to reach Greece, AFP reported on Saturday.
"Frontex 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," the newswire quoted Faymann as saying on the website of Austrian tabloid Oesterreich.
Faymann also said that he had proposed the idea as an "optimum solution" to Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the international donor conference for Syria in London on Thursday.
Last month, Faymann said that Austria had decided to cap the number of refugees it wants to accept to 37,500 this year and a total of 127,500 through 2019.
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