Which states allow open wearing


to Federal Chancellor Kurz and Vice Chancellor Kogler

Dear Federal Chancellor,
Dear Vice Chancellor,

The Corona crisis requires the government's attention to an unprecedented extent, and it must be recognized that we here in Austria are receiving the greatest possible help in economic and social terms.

In view of this great support, which was possible in such a short time, we are all the more outraged that you are ignoring another humanitarian catastrophe that is taking place before our eyes on EU soil: the inhumane conditions in the hopelessly overcrowded refugee camps on the Greek islands .

Why is there a lack of willingness to show solidarity and help for sick children, young people living alone, women at risk of violence, elderly people who are particularly at risk from the corona virus, ...?

Compared to the challenges posed by the corona pandemic, it would be much easier to help the people in the Greek camps, because Austria has enough space to accommodate refugees:

  • 25 care centers are listed on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. According to media reports, these federal care centers have a total capacity of around 6,500 places, of which only around 1,300 places are occupied.

  • Rent and operating costs also have to be paid for the inactive federal care centers; in 2019 it was around 7 million euros for all locations together.

  • The Ministry of the Interior has repeatedly referred to the media as “provision capacity” for the inactive accommodations, which can be put back into operation “if necessary within a very short time”.

  • So it is obvious that there are enough vacant accommodations for which the general public has to pay rent and operating costs anyway.

  • Added to this are the accommodations that are not yet taken into account in these figures and that are operated by the federal states, e.g. here in Tyrol by the "Tyrolean Social Services".

In addition, Austria has a considerable structure of organizations in the asylum sector as well as a very well functioning civil society, which is still committed to refugees and their integration.

The transport to Austria shouldn't be too big an obstacle, because recently it was also possible to fly in 231 nurses from Bulgaria and Romania without any problems.

According to current media reports, Germany and Luxembourg will start taking in refugees from the Greek islands, especially children, in the coming days. Another eight EU countries have announced that they will also accept people from Greece as part of the “coalition of the willing”. Unfortunately, the Austrian federal government has not yet subscribed to these plans - an attitude that, based on the arguments mentioned above, we can neither understand nor accept.

We therefore demand:

  • Austria must ensure that the conditions in the camps on the East Aegean islands of Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos that violate human rights are brought to an end.

  • Austria must not allow Greece - disregarding the ideals of European unity - to be left alone in dealing with the current refugee crisis.

  • In coordination with Germany and the other countries of the “Coalition of the Willing”, Austria should take in particularly endangered people from the Greek camps - above all unaccompanied minors, children and women as well as people from Covid-19 risk groups.

Innsbruck, April 14, 2020

The so-called "settlement", i.e. the official answer to the open letter, was delegated by the Federal Chancellor to an official of the Ministry of the Interior.

Further reactions from the political side (in the form of emails):

April 19, 2020 • Mag.a Beate Meinl-Reisinger, Club Chairwoman (NEOS)

April 21, 2020 • Dr. Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic, deputy Club Chairwoman (Greens)

05/05/2020 • Sigi Maurer, BA, club chairwoman (Greens)

Der Standard, April 16, 2020, page 8