EU top court rules against Austrian curbs on refugee rights | News | DW | 21.11.2018

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EU top court rules against Austrian curbs on refugee rights

The European Court of Justice ruled against a 2015 regulation that saw Austria give minimal social assistance to refugees. Austria's conservative government has introduced a number of strict immigration cuts recently.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ordered Austria to roll back regulations on Wednesday that saw refugees given markedly less social assistance than native-born Austrians.

The ECJ ruled that the Austrian measure from 2015 was not compatible with EU directives on the recognition of "third-party" nationals – i.e., non-Austrians and non-EU citizens.

Upper Austria province had asked the court whether it was allowed to give refugees with temporary status limited assistance.

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Vienna has introduced a number of measures limiting the rights of refugees in recent months. The coalition government of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's conservative People's Party (ÖVP) and the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) have detailed a number of initiatives under their "New Justice" policy plan that are aimed at privileging native-born Austrians.

 Amongst the new curbs on refugees is reduced access to German courses and apprenticeship programs as well as a controversial rule that asks migrants to turn over their cell phones and valuables at the border. 

Border protection exercises in Austria

es/ncy (dpa, KNA)

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