The third week of coalition government talks between the Freedom Party (FPÖ) and the People’s Party of Austria (ÖVP) has ended on a high note with the two parties’ leaders issuing a joint statement saying that they had agreed on reforming the police service, the tightening of asylum and citizenship procedures, and the “halting of illegal immigration.”
At the end of the latest round of negotiations which aim to map out the details of the proposed coalition government, Strache and ÖVP chairman Sebastian Kurz reported back to a press conference on the week’s talks which focused on “law and order, and homeland security.”
Both party leaders said the talks had “progressed very far,” and they had agreed on four issues: the modernizing of the police, digital security, measures against terrorism and extremism, and stricter rules on asylum and citizenship.
In the area of police reform, an apprenticeship system will be created to assist training, and the salary system will be reformed to make the profession of a police officer more attractive.
In the field of digital security, the two parties agreed to create a “national, bundled cybersecurity center.”
“It is clear that better tools are needed to detect danger at an earlier period,” Strache said. As examples, he mentioned issues like video surveillance, license plate recognition systems and the ability to better monitor messenger services like Whatsapp.
However, he added, the “preservation of civil rights must always be in the foreground.”
With regard to asylum policy, the parties agreed that appeal process processing time should be shortened and that any welfare should be “limited to benefits in kind,” that is, not cash handouts.
The two parties also agreed that the right of regions to pay out whatever they wanted to “asylum seekers” would be stopped, and that all regions would have to adopt the minimum payouts as currently used by the regions of Lower and Upper Austria.
In addition, there will be a “cap” for “asylum” seeker family claims, in order to prevent dozens of claimants from one “asylum applicant.”
Finally, it was decided to double the residency period for any “approved” asylum seeker to gain citizenship from five to ten years.
“We want to stop the embodiment of illegal immigration under the guise of an integration policy,” Strache concluded.
While the policy shifts do not address the fundamental issue at stake—the fact that Austria is set to be overrun by nonwhite invaders within the next few decades—at the very least, the influx will be slowed down if the proposals become law.
The final hurdle to the formation of a coalition government is still however to come: the far-left Austrian president, who narrowly beat the FPÖ in the election for that office, has previously announced that he would refuse to swear in a government which included the FPÖ.