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Deportation to Rwanda: Austria wants to follow Great Britain

Deportation to Rwanda: Austria wants to follow Great Britain

Austrian Chancellor Karl Neuhammer hailed Britain as a “pioneer” on immigration policy and hinted at plans to deport illegal immigrants to Rwanda, while British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited Vienna on Tuesday.


When British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited Vienna on Tuesday, the Austrian chancellor called the United Kingdom a “pioneer” for asylum procedures outside the EU. Carl Nehammer referred to the British draft law to send migrants to Rwanda.

The chancellor's conservative party has long taken a tough stance on migration and faces a strong challenge from the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) in Austria's upcoming elections.

Nehhammer said Austria and the United Kingdom, which will leave the EU in 2020, are “strategic partners when it comes to asylum procedures in safe third countries”.

“The United Kingdom is a pioneer on this path, which will be important for the EU as well,” he told a joint press conference with Sunak. “The Rwandan model is a pioneer in helping us put asylum procedures in safe third countries on the EU's agenda.”

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The call came after EU member states decided on far-reaching reforms of the Union's asylum system.

In late April, the British Parliament passed legislation to deport some migrants to Rwanda, paving the way for deportation flights this summer. Sunak's controversial plan aims to prevent people trying to reach the UK from making the perilous crossing of the English Channel, the Prime Minister said.

Human rights activists and groups in the UK have said they will continue to fight against these policies, which they describe as unethical and inhumane.

Sunak said, “We need to continue to come up with new ideas, solutions and prevention, such as deportations to safe third countries, such as the UK's new Rwanda programme.”

“It is increasingly clear that many countries now believe that this is the right approach: an eye on partnerships with countries that are bold, innovative and secure,” Sunak said.