The rise to power of Austria’s far-right has raised a few eyebrows in the EU. And the new coalition – made up of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s People’s Party and the anti-immigration Freedom Party – is set to challenge the bloc’s migration policies.
Austria intends to crackdown on refugees, curbing their benefits. The question is: how contagious will their politics be?
“There’s a tendency towards a relaxation of relations with these parties. So, little by little, we could see alliances created first at a national level. Then, really slowly, this could lead to alliances at supranational and European levels,” said Benjamin Biard, from the Catholic University of Louvain.
The EU’s migration policies have already hit the buffers with the four Visegrad nations: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. They all voted against quotas, brought in to help release the pressure in Italy and Greece.
And Vienna is ready to establish stronger ties with Visegrad countries. Heading into 2018, this could become a major problem for the EU – as it sets its sights on new migration policies, while boosting solidarity with Southern European countries.