Europe can learn from India in tackling the migrant crisis as the country has experience in dealing with migrants and integrating them, a top Austrian official said today.
As Europe grapples with an unprecedented influx of migrants, there is definitely a strategic partnership between India and the EU, said Herbert Krauss, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Austria, Head of the Department for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (EU).
“Though I am not dealing with our bilateral relations but I was just reading through what our (Austrian) Embassy wrote about the visit of our Foreign Minister and it tells there is lot of potential in India. I think India is definitely up and coming so it is definitely one of our important strategic partners, speaking as a European,” he told a group of visiting Indian journalists here.
“Also for instance in the migration issue because India has experience with migration. I think they had refugees from Bangladesh. So you know how to integrate them, how to deal with them. I think the EU is also tapping into your experience because there is a plan to conclude a common agenda for migration and mobility between India and the EU,” he said, adding it is a good project and will be mutually beneficial.
Krauss asserted that “Europe as a whole” can learn from the Indian experience in dealing with the migrants crisis.
Official sources said the migrant crisis was something the EU had never seen before in these dimensions and is something where the EU is “slowly but gradually developing a common line” which is absolutely indispensible.
“Since particularly this migration crisis goes right to the heart of domestic policies-social policies and how do we integrate the migrants and what are the perspectives and how do we manage that, this is something which involves all the aspects not just of the common security policy but also of EU policies,” a source said.
Talking specifically of Austria, sources said a figure of 37,000-38,000 migrants annually is what experts are saying can be integrated without major restructuring of the country’s financial instruments and without disrupting society.
“But in European terms, this does not sound much. European Union has about 500 million inhabitants. Europe could accept between two and three million refugees in about two or three years and this is not so bad,” a source said.
The source said about 400 to 500 Austrians were reported to have gone to fight alongside ISIS in Syria. Seventy of them have returned home and about 40 died.
Since the number was quite large Austria was closely monitoring efforts to integrate migrants in the social milieu and pooling in more resources into anti-radicalisation programmes.