Garner on FPÖ leader Giglin’s tour: “It’s pathetic”

In a landlocked country like Austria, the number of illegal immigrants should go to zero, says Gerhard Garner in an interview with the Courier. And he talks about how to come to Austria legally and what DNA testing has in common with a grid square.

Delivery Man: The number of asylum applications continues to decline and was 2,251 in April. Are you seeing a trend or are the numbers increasing again?

Hegard Garner: The most significant figure is illegal border crossings. This is a prerequisite for a reduction in the number of asylum applications. Burgenland had 12,300 illegal border crossings from January to April 2022;

This is what you lead only Back to border controls?

This is because of the set of measures we have taken. Smugglers avoid Austria because of arrests. If the smugglers are disturbed, they change the route. At the end of the day, however, this is not satisfactory, which is why we are fighting for tightening across Europe.

In Austria So far this year, 9,173 asylum applications have been submitted. This is 33 percent lower than in the first third of 2023. 4,840 applications came from minors, 5,671 asylum applications were made by Syrians and 933 by Afghans.

811 return trip Applied in April as part of family reunification. This is 1,374 fewer than in January, according to Home Ministry figures.

In Europe By the end of April, 332,500 asylum applications had been received, the same number as in the previous year.

They are fighting with a dozen other EU countries to set up asylum centers in third countries. Isn’t it an indictment of the EU that states get paid to take in migrants because EU states can’t do that?

The reality is that the current system is completely broken. The protection of the EU’s external borders is not working and individual EU countries are particularly vulnerable. Although we are a landlocked country, Austria was generally second in terms of applications per capita. Now we have – positively – fallen back to 6th place, but we need new models.

By new models you mean British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s discussion with Chancellor Carl Neuhammer this week. Great Britain wants to deport Rwandan immigrants. But this is only possible because the British are not in the EU.

But there is also an example of cooperation between Italy and Albania or Denmark, which negotiated its own regime when joining the EU. That is why we started the third country model for Denmark one and a half years ago. Now 15 states prefer such solutions.

Regardless of whether it is Turkey, Lebanon or Rwanda: all these countries receive money to take in migrants. This means that the EU is becoming dependent, as the willingness to allow migrants to stay in the country does not have to last…

Yes, but it is Europe’s task and responsibility to cooperate with countries on an equal footing so that local people are well looked after and don’t trust themselves to traffickers and end up at risk of drowning or suffocating in trucks. Rwanda shows that these possibilities exist.

What are the possibilities?

Austria and Denmark have pledged to jointly fund a border security center between Tunisia and Algeria and train officers there. Because of the so-called connection criterion, unlike Great Britain, Austria cannot deport people only to a third country.


Third country model, border security centers – what do you think will be more in the future?

I am not a probability calculator. But I am working hard to make things better. That is the essence of democracy, you seek the majority to make new things possible. The Asylum and Migration Agreement has been agreed and now is the time to implement it.

Even if you’re not a probability calculator: Are the causes of migration different because of armed conflict or climate change?

The reasons are quite different, I know from discussions with colleagues. Finland has suffered from hybrid warfare through managed illegal immigration from Russia. Cyprus is affected because the shortest route for refugees in Lebanon to Europe is through Cyprus. Austria is plagued by structural loopholes. What unites us is to change and tighten the system.

Most asylum applicants in Austria come from civil war country Syria – while you want to deport people to Syria. No cynicism?

No, it’s not cynical. It is practical to talk to other countries about this possibility. This is what we did at the conference in Cyprus. For example, Cyprus temporarily suspended asylum applications from Syria. At the same time, we determined whether there were safe areas in Syria again. There are areas like this around Damascus. Our Cypriot colleagues say that there are young people going on home holidays in these same regions. That is why it is legitimate and proper to talk about deportation and repatriation.

Are you deliberately not naming young women or children from Syria?

The reality is that most Syrian applicants are men between the ages of 16 and 30. Women and children come to us through the right to family reunification.

They want to use more DNA tests to make sure applicants are really families. Why is the ÖVP now supporting this already established option, and above all, what do you expect from it?

True, there was always a possibility, but we have a problem with documents being forged and the possibility of family reunification being misused. That’s why we increase the density of constraints – as the grid squares. We can already see that applications for family reunification are significantly lower – 811 in April instead of almost 2,200 in January.

Have you set a number as your goal?

The goal should be to reduce the number of illegal immigrants to zero in a landlocked country like Austria.

How does the Home Secretary actually outline the path to legal migration?

It goes through a red-white-red card. Refugees from Ukraine are also legally present in Austria.

Change of title and location. An arms embargo is in place following the incidents in Vienna-Favoriten. Their public media appearances on the site have also come under criticism. Who do they serve?

As a politician, of course, it’s my responsibility as an employer to show my support for police officers, publicly, especially in the media, especially since this has been so much reported. It is always a bundle of actions that leads to a goal. In Favoriten’s case, the number of crimes dropped by 60 percent.

Statistics on right-wing and left-wing extremism, anti-Semitism and rising radicalization trends are now being released regularly. How does all this reflect in the work of the police?

From October 7, 2023 Right-wing and left-wing extremism have become louder recently, as have anti-Semitic trends. Islamist and left-wing radical anti-Semitism may have always existed, but it was much quieter and not overtly expressed. This changed with the outbreak of war in Israel. Continual intervention is the task of a constitutional state and a defensive democracy. This applies to new media as well, as events like this help increase volume. So we need to stay on these channels as well.

How can politics properly address this?

I remember a 12-year-old girl who was molested by 13- to 17-year-olds. They also used cell phones as weapons. The smartphone is both a crime scene and a weapon at the same time – a phenomenon that we as politicians and society should commit ourselves to.

Garner on FPÖ leader Giglin's tour: "It is pathetic”

Interior Minister Gerhard Garner and FPÖ leader Herbert Kigl

Keyword Cell Phone: Do you communicate via Telegram, Signal, Threema?

I still prefer face-to-face.

Have a personal conversation with one of your predecessors at the office, Herbert Giggle?

At the conversational level, more is said: We greet each other in Parliament. But I find it sad that the FPÖ leader has been on an “against the establishment” tour since Friday. What does that mean? The system in Austria is democracy and a perfect constitutional government! Anyone who revolts against these basic Austrian values ​​is not against the people and against our country!

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