The country has seen a near 200% increase in applications this year
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer declared on Monday that the European Union's asylum system has failed, after his country saw a record 56,000 refugee applications this year. Together with Hungary's Viktor Orban and Serbia's Aleksandar Vucic, Nehammer proposed tightening border security.
"Austria is currently heavily burdened by illegal migration. The solidarity contribution that we are making in Europe is disproportionately high," Nehammer stated at a summit with Orban and Vucic in Budapest, according to Austria's Kronen Zeitung newspaper.
"The asylum policy has failed. There is still no strong EU external border protection, and the reality of the problem is being disregarded," the chancellor added.
Under the EU's 'Effective Solidarity' program, wealthier member states are encouraged to accept migrants rejected by other nations struggling to handle the influx. If these wealthy countries refuse, other members are asked to take what the European Commission terms "their fair share" of the migrants.
Some 56,149 asylum applications were filed in Austria between January and August this year, according to the country's interior ministry. This represents an increase of 195% on the same period last year. The ministry noted that most of the applications were made by Indian nationals, who have no chance of actually being granted asylum due to their arrival from a safe country.
Pakistanis, Moroccans and Tunisians are also among those claiming asylum, with their cases highly likely to be rejected.
"As long as the EU does not intervene with efficient measures, we will have to help ourselves," Nehammer said on Monday. "Austria is therefore doing everything possible to protect itself, and we want to take further measures together with Serbia and Hungary. Because if the Serbian and Hungarian borders are protected, our own frontier is also protected."
Austria has used its military to impose border controls on several occasions since millions of migrants began pouring into Europe in 2015, and last year deployed an additional 400 soldiers at its frontier with Hungary. Orban has taken an even tougher stance, and constructed a double-layer fence along its borders with Croatia and Serbia, while immediately expelling migrants deemed inadmissible. Belgrade rejects most asylum applications.