Austrian summit fails to address refugee housing crisis

Austrian summit fails to address refugee housing crisis |

Interior Minister Gerhard Karner, who met with the country’s nine state governors late on Wednesday, failed to come to an agreement on tackling the current refugee housing crisis in the country.

Austria, which currently houses some 70,000 Ukrainian refugees, is struggling with a 200% increase in refugees from other countries when compared to last year. While seven of Austria’s states, bar Vienna and Burgenland, are not keeping to the agreed refugee housing quotas, Karner previously sparked outrage after he put up tents on federal land to house Ukrainian refugees.

To address the current situation, Karner, together with governors of the country’s nine states, met at a high-level summit Wednesday night, though the meeting had resulted in no concrete actions, participants told APA.

Though the UN’s refugee organisation UNHCR said it appealed to Austrian municipalities to create new spots for refugees, participants in the meeting only agreed to the idea of having households compensated for housing refugees.

The interior ministry told APA it was grateful there was unanimous political will to prevent short-term homelessness and challenge “the current undermining of the asylum system” at the EU level.

At the moment, Vienna hosts most refugees at a rate of 186% of its refugee quota. Recently, the city opened another 350 spots at the “Hotel de France.”

While the refugee crisis is being addressed with short-term fixes for now, more are calling for the adoption of a more systemic approach.

“We also need a medium and long-term solution to the asylum issue,” explained Peter Kaiser, the state leader of Carinthia, who belongs to the social democrat SPÖ.

(Nikolaus J. Kurmayer |


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