The Freedom Party of Austria is a right-wing political platform from the country of its namesake and is known in German as Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs. Mr. Herbert Kickl, a member of the Freedom Party, was sworn in as Interior Minister in December 2017, and has recently expressed his intention to “beef up the country’s asylum policies.”
Such “beefing up” will, according to the Austrian Minister, includes, “avoiding a large mass of people from entering the country in an uncontrolled manner.”
Such a stance on non-Western immigration stands in direct opposition to the legislation passed by Germany, Austria’s brother-nation. Compared to the extremely pro-immigration policies passed by Germany in 2017, including Chancellor Merkel’s refusal to place limits on the amount of refugees received, Kickl’s stance appears to stand in direct opposition.
Additionally, Kickl also proposed mandatory X-rays to determine asylum-seekers’ ages for legal purposes. Austrian government is currently undergoing vast magisterial reform, as the recently elected Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been asked to “form a new government” by Austrian President
Alexander Van der Bellen.
In a statement on January 11, 2018, a scandal became known to the world when Interior Minister Kickl stated that he wanted to see asylum seekers “concentrated” into special centers, and that he would support creating “basic services centers and suitable infrastructure that enables us to concentrate people in the asylum process in one place.”
Kickl’s communicative rumination of the Nazi-linked practice of concentrating entire populations into entire areas sparked hot comments from around the world.
When questioned by reporters on his questionable choice of words, Kickl said there was no need create a “semantic discussion,” and claimed he did not mean to provoke anyone.
In response to Kickl’s controversial statement, Austrian President Van der Bellen penned a letter to Holocaust survivors, pledging to “work to ensure for the duration of my tenure that destructive nationalism, xenophobia, right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism have no place in Austria.”