Austria’s new far-Right vice-chancellor has called for refugees to be housed in old army camps and put under a night-time curfew.
Heinz-Christian Strache said asylum-seekers and recognised refugees should be placed in “underused” military barracks and forced to return at night.
“Order is needed as long as we have an open asylum system," Mr Strache told Austrian television.
Opposition politicians spoke out against the proposals, comparing them to the forced “internment” of refugees, while other government ministers sought to distance themselves from the idea.
Mr Strache became Austrian vice-chancellor last month after his far-Right Freedom Party (FPÖ) joined a coalition under Sebastian Kurz, the 31-year-old chancellor who is the world’s youngest leader.
Both men campaigned on a hardline policy towards migrants, and the government is already set to introduce tough new measures which include seizing money from asylum-seekers to pay for the cost of their housing.
Migrants will also be forced to hand over their mobile phones on arrival so data stored on the can be checked.
But Mr Strache went further by suggesting military barracks could be used to house refugees. The idea follows a proposal by another senior figure in his party last year to move refugees out of Vienna to “mass quarters” on the city outskirts, in order to show migrants that “Austria is not as comfortable as everybody thinks”.
“It has already been talked about in the past whether it shouldn’t be that they all have to be back in barracks by a certain time in the evening,” Mr Strache said.
Opposition politicians condemned the proposals. “These proposals are not worthy of a vice-chancellor,” said Sandra Frauenberger of the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ).
“Mr Strache wants to intern refugees instead of integrating them,” Jürgen Czernohorszky of the SPÖ said. “It’s a political indictment if you do not even try to make people stand on their own feet and just lock them away instead.”
He called on Mr Kurz to “distance himself from these confused ideas” and “call off” his vice-chancellor.
Profile | Sebastian Kurz
There was no immediate comment from Mr Kurz. But Mr Strache backpedalled from his earlier remarks in a joint press conference with the chancellor yesterday, suggesting Mr Kurz may have exerted some pressure behind closed doors.
“Housing refugees in barracks is currently not an issue,” a subdued Mr Strache said. “There are currently no plans for mass accommodation.”
Other ministers had already made their opposition to the idea clear. “I’m of the opinion that there should be no asylum centres outside the city, because parallel societies form and there is a growth in delinquency,” Karoline Edtstadler, the deputy interior minister said.
Mr Strache has been keen to put some policy distance between the FPÖ and the chancellor’s People’s Party (ÖVP), after Mr Kurz stole the populist mantle from his shoulders in last year’s election.
But it appears there was opposition to his proposals even within his own party. Mario Kunasek, the defence minister and a senior FPÖ figure, dismissed questions with a terse: “It is not an issue in my department at the moment”.
Click Here: cheap sydney roosters jersey