The grand coalition government of Austria has announced its budget for 2017 and has revealed a massive €2 billion cost for migrants – well above most predictions.
Finance Minister Hans Jörg Schelling of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) announced that the state would be examining the bill for the housing and care of migrants, reports Austrian broadcaster Oe24.
The ministry of finance also released figures breaking down the costs of asylum seekers for the previous two years which were well below the two billion euros proposed in the budget. According to the report in 2014, the government spent €600 million on asylum seekers and in 2015 the number increased to around one billion. The new figure is double that of 2015 but it is also based on the proposed 37,500 “ceiling” for migrants.
The Austrian migrant upper limit has been a constant source of controversy in the country. It was intended that once the limit was reached Austria would declare a state of emergency and not allow any more migrants into the country.
The government maintains that the ceiling has not yet been reached. But opposition parties, like the anti-mass migration Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), claim that the ceiling was breached much earlier this year and the real figure could be upwards of 120,000 migrants who have already crossed Austria’s borders.
Finance Minister Schelling broke down the two billion euro figure with Austrian journalists saying that €884 million would be solely dedicated to asylum homes and primary care for migrants, €138 million for processing asylum claims, and €133 million for integration and language courses.
Also included in the total figure was €432 million which is to be spent on the Austrian armed forces as the military has taken over from police in many areas including patrolling and securing the borders.
A further €338 million is to be allocated to integrate migrants enter the labour force. This has been difficult to achieve in Austria, and also in neighboring Germany, due to the average education of most migrants being very low.
In Germany, the costs for migrants is exponentially higher with the federal government admitting that migrants cost the German taxpayer a massive €30 billion per year. The figure is so large that earlier in the year the German Finance Minister said that the entire budget surplus would have to be used to pay for the new migrants.