European Interest

Austria’s top judge critical of asylum laws

Flickr/Ars Electronica/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
*Verbindung hergestellt* (Connection Established) is a project in which 21 pupils from Vorchdorf Elementary School, asylum seekers living in that town, and the Ars Electronica Center Linz jointly produced an exhibition.

Gerhart Holzinger, who has to step down as president of Austria’s constitutional court at the end of this year due to his age, criticised his country’s ever tougher legislation on asylum and security measures.

His comments came days after the conservatives formed a coalition government with the far right.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, Sebastian Kurz’s People’s Party joined forces with the anti-Islam Freedom Party this month, vowing to increase the power of the security apparatus, to fight illegal immigration and to combat what they perceive as the Islamization of society.

When asked about the new government’s plans to take away asylum seekers’ phones and cash and allow their doctors to break with the rule of medical confidentiality, Holzinger said such issues would certainly end up with constitutional judges.

“In the sectors of asylum and migration, there is indeed a staccato-style lining up of new laws. It cannot work that way because the apparatus that is supposed to apply these laws is faced with new rules every month or half year,” he said.

“But sometimes the consistent handling and application of laws is more tiresome than the publication of new party [political] projects.”

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