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Austria passes tough new aslyum laws

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
Austria passes tough new aslyum laws

<p><p></p> <ul> <li>Austria passes tough new asylum laws</li> <li>Reported plans for a fence at Brenner Pass</li> <li>Restrictions ‘not justified’ – Italy</li> <li>Some say vote has political aspect</li> </ul> </p> <h3><strong>What is happening?</strong></h3> <p> <p>The Austrian parliament has passed controversial legislation paving the way for tougher measures on asylum.</p> <p>It includes, for example, an accelerated process for assessing potential asylum claims under which migrants could be turned away at the border.</p> <p>Asylum will only be granted to people who are likely to be persecuted if they are sent back to their country of origin.</p> <p>Refugees who already have close family living in Austria would also be allowed to remain.</p> <p>Parliament would have to confirm that public order and security are under threat for the measures to be implemented.</p> </p> <p> <h3><strong>What is happening at the Brenner Pass?</strong></h3> </p> <p>Media reports suggest Austria is planning to build a fence at the border with Italy.</p> <p>Work on the barrier will form part of Vienna’s preparations for controls to be introduced if a predicted surge in migrant numbers materialises. <p></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Brenner Pass border checks to start end of May <a href="https://t.co/gPPqRqJnC2">https://t.co/gPPqRqJnC2</a> <a href="https://t.co/BbX7K9lyJ6">pic.twitter.com/BbX7K9lyJ6</a></p>— DriveEurope (@DriveEurope) <a href="https://twitter.com/DriveEurope/status/724584098581385216">April 25, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <p>Austrian officials say they expect a wave of migrants to head north soon. <p></p> <h3><strong>Is Italy happy about this?</strong></h3> </p> <p>No.</p> <p>Rome says border restrictions at the Brenner Pass north-south transport link are not justified, given the small number of migrants arriving there. <p></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Italy?src=hash">#Italy</a> PM Renzi's: Closing Brenner Pass is “against rules, history, logic, future” <a href="https://t.co/CTM8sdLDQ5">https://t.co/CTM8sdLDQ5</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Refugees?src=hash">#Refugees</a> <a href="https://t.co/C4zAquYAaY">https://t.co/C4zAquYAaY</a></p>— Lotte Leicht (@LotteLeicht1) <a href="https://twitter.com/LotteLeicht1/status/725341306596237312">April 27, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <p><strong>Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi</strong> says the plans are “shamelessly against European rules, as well as being against history, against logic and against the future.”</p> <p>Additionally, the Brenner Pass is the busiest route through the Alps.</p> <p>It is Italy’s main transport link to Germany, its top trading partner. Controls will slow down traffic and could impact on trade. <p></p> <h3><strong>What are the reported plans?</strong></h3> </p> <ul> <li>A 400 metre-long fence at the border</li> <li>Three checkpoints on the motorway</li> </ul> <p>(Sources: Tiroler Tageszeitung, <span class="caps">APA</span>) <p></p> <h3><strong>Why has Austria suddenly toughened its stance against migrants?</strong></h3> </p> <p>Opinion is divided.</p> <p>Some say it is in response to a predicted surge of migrants arriving from Italy via the central Mediterranean route.</p> <p>Others think there is a political aspect to the vote.</p> <p>The Austrian parliament passed the new legislation just days after a far-right party came top in the first round of the country’s presidential election.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align=center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Austria: New measures are a legal wall to asylum just as despicable as a razor-wire fence <a href="https://t.co/mqegVFDg2U">https://t.co/mqegVFDg2U</a> <a href="https://t.co/H2jOcrbDTB">pic.twitter.com/H2jOcrbDTB</a></p>— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) <a href="https://twitter.com/astroehlein/status/725382364235489281">April 27, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">There goes the open border with Italy – Brenner pass will be the Brenner gate before this summer <a href="https://t.co/K4xUWZhrnQ">https://t.co/K4xUWZhrnQ</a></p>— Angus MacKinnon (@AngusM1966) <a href="https://twitter.com/AngusM1966/status/724315907862966273">April 24, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p>