During a visit to Austria, Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) emphasized the similarities with the conservative-led government in Vienna and spoke out in favor of the consistent repatriation of migrants without a right to stay.

Faeser took part in the opening of a conference in Vienna aimed at facilitating the deportation of migrants stranded in Balkan countries with no prospect of asylum.

Stephen Lowenstein

Political correspondent based in Vienna.

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According to the Austrian Minister of the Interior, Gerhard Karner, representatives from around 20 countries and the European Commission are taking part.

The focus is on Bosnia-Hercegovina, where several thousand migrants are suspected.

Karner said it was about "allowing those who have no chance of asylum to be repatriated as soon as possible".

The affected Balkan countries want to be supported, "also in know-how and in organizing charter flights".

No more bureaucracy

With support from the EU, it should be made easier, among other things, to issue return documents.

At the conference, the needs of the Western Balkan countries are to be recorded and regional return mechanisms are to be set up and activities pooled.

It's not about adding an additional level of bureaucracy, Karner assured, but, on the contrary, about pragmatic and concrete help.

Another focus is the fight against gangs of people smugglers and the improvement of EU external border protection.

Parliamentary State Secretary Mahmut Özdemir will represent Germany.

The prepared final declaration will be supported by Germany and the concerns of the event will be "very strongly supported", assured Faeser in advance.

In Vienna, after the resignation of Sebastian Kurz, the governing party ÖVP declared that it would stick to a restrictive migration line even under Chancellor Karl Nehammer.

Interior Minister Karner defended the erection of border fences.

He also insisted that Austria "currently" did not want to take in any more refugees, especially from Afghanistan, because the country was already under a disproportionately high burden.

On the other hand, he did not rule out that Austria could participate in a future, possibly regional, distribution mechanism.

Nancy Faeser, on the other hand, emphasized the similarities, "also in migration policy".

It is important to comply with human rights obligations, “to reduce irregular migration and, where possible, to enable regular migration”.

A common European approach is necessary.

"Germany and Austria advocate effective border protection and consistent repatriation of migrants who have no right to stay, especially those who are at risk," said Faeser.

Faeser did not want to comment on any differences, for example in the assessment of deportations of minors, citing courtesy.