Poland will take 7,000 refugees, under conditions; Austria to tighten asylum rules

Poland will take 7,000 refugees, under conditions; Austria to tighten asylum rules

Poland's foreign minister says the government stands by its commitment to take in 7,000 refugees, on condition they are checked for security and are willing to settle in Poland.

Poland had previously agreed on that number, but following the attacks in Brussels last week Prime Minster Beata Szydlo said she saw "no possibility" of accepting any migrants. The words were understood as reneging on the refugees deal.

But Witold Waszczykowski said on TVP INFO late Tuesday that Poland will be ready to "review the applications" of those refugees whose identities are confirmed, who are declared as posing no security threat and who are willing to come to Poland. He expressed doubt as to whether 7,000 such refugees could be found.

Austria's government plans to further tighten rules on those seeking asylum in the country as of mid-May.

The move, announced Wednesday, places additional limits on who qualifies for safe haven after restrictions introduced earlier this year as Austria and its eastern neighbors shut down the West Balkans migrant route.

Austria currently processes every request for asylum. Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner says that under the new rules, applications will be accepted only from "those that we have to" – for instance in cases where a person faces threats to safety in a neighboring country that he or she transited.

Austria has set a limit of 37,500 asylum applications for the year, after receiving nearly 90,000 in 2015. Mikl-Leitner says 14,000 were submitted as of the end of March.


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