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Austria wants EU border agency to send migrants back to Turkey

The number of arrivals in Austria hit 90,000 in 2015

AFP/PTI  |  Vienna 

Refugee

Austria wants the EU's border agency Frontex to send directly back to Turkey the migrants it picks trying to reach Greece, media today quoted Chancellor Werner Faymann as saying.

"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," Social Democrat Faymann said on Austrian tabloid Oesterreich's website.

He said he had proposed this as an "optimum solution" to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at Thursday's Syrian donor conference in London.

Faymann said this approach was "the only totally effective measure to break the human trafficking" of migrants, Austrian daily Kronen Zeitung reported.

Austria's APA news agency quoted chancellery sources as saying that in return Turkey would receive swifter payment of $3.3 billion of EU aid to enable it to cope with the ongoing migrant influx.

Relative to its population size of 8.7 million, Austria was one of the countries taking in the most migrants last year amid the worst refugee crisis that Europe has known since World War II.

The number of arrivals in Austria hit 90,000 in 2015, more than triple the 28,000 for 2014.

The Austrian proposal comes on the back of a similar plan floated by the Netherlands last month to return migrants to Turkey in exchange for giving asylum to up to 250,000 already hosted by Turkey.

Under the plan, all migrants arriving through the Greek islands would be returned to Turkey, Diederik Samsom, parliamentary leader of the coalition Labour Party (PvdA), told a Dutch newspaper.

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First Published: Sat, February 06 2016. 21:13 IST
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