The issue of immigration played a variable role in the 2017 national elections in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. In Germany, most parties’ campaigns - including that of the SPD and CDU - focused on other topics. Yet, their stances on immigration and asylum largely influenced voters’ decisions. The latter also applies to the elections in Austria and the Czech Republic where the winning and future governing parties ran fierce anti-immigration campaigns.
The outcome of the elections in Austria and the Czech Republic strengthens EU member states calling for a more restrictive immigration policy and even a total closing of the borders. Concerning specific immigration policies, the future Austrian government will probably closely cooperate with the Visegrád Group (Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia) at the EU level. However, due to many different interests, it is very unlikely that Austria will officially accede to the so called V4.
Overall, the outcome of the elections in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic will not fundamentally change the course of European migration policy but rather intensify the current tendency of externalization, aiming to prevent migrants from reaching European soil. This policy includes border protection, closer cooperation with neighboring states as well as plans for “hotspots” in order to detain and vet asylum seekers outside of Europe. Moreover, this means increasing deportations and presumably a redefinition of the concepts of asylum and sanctuary with the purpose of denying more people the right to enter the European Union.
The paper is part of a series of reports on current debates on migration in European countries.
Contact: Timo Rinke, Head of Regional Project “Flight, Migration, Integration in Europe”, FES-Office in Budapest.
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