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Weekly update: Vienna Refuses to Take In Refugees

Vienna maintained its hard-line position in the recent escalation at the Greek-Turkish border, where thousands of refugees are prevented from entering the EU and are held back with force.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), who had previously claimed that migration represents a risk as dangerous as climate change, confirmed his intention not to admit migrants coming from Turkey in order to prevent a repetition of the 2015 crisis.

The debate around the refugee crisis sparked tensions within the coalition government. The already precarious alliance between the conservative, Christian-democratic Austria’s People Party (ÖVP) and the Green Party (die Grünen) has been shaken by the former’s anti-refugee line.

The Greens have announced that they will continue pressuring the ÖVP on human rights issues. Some of their MPs joined a demonstration outside ÖVP headquarters in Vienna.

A press conference with Minister of Integration Susanne Raab (ÖVP) was disrupted by left-wing activists protesting the government position


There have been74 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Austria. Flights to Milan, Bologna, Iran and South Korea have been cancelled, the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) stopped night-train connections to Italy and border health checks have been introduced.

Art Restitution

Egon Schiele’s painting "Vier Bäume" (1917), housed in the Belvedere Museum (Vienna), is to be returned to the Morgenstern family, who were forced to sell it upon fleeing Nazi persecution.


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