New Army Chief Warns Mass Migration Greatest Danger to Austria
The new chief of staff of the Austrian army, the Bundesheer, Major General Robert Brieger has warned that the greatest threat the central European country faces is from uncontrolled mass migration.
Major General Brieger said that due to a lack of concrete border protection on the external borders of the European Union, all member states faced a threat from mass migration including the possibility of future terrorist attacks, Kronen Zeitungreports.
“The migration problem has developed in such a way that all member states of the European Union are affected. Until external border protection is fully guaranteed, there is a need to act at a national level,” Brieger said.
The 61-year-old Major General is considered one of the greatest strategists in the Austrian army and has already made an impression on populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) Defence Minister Mario Kunasek who said: “I have appointed an excellent soldier and officer with many years of military experience at home and abroad. He has qualified for upcoming tasks with his prudent and deliberate leadership style.”
Defence Minister Kunasek also said that he would be looking to greatly increase defence spending, which currently sits at a mere 0.58 percent of GDP, to one percent of Austria’s GDP by the end of the current legislative period which ends in 2022.
Since the formation of the conservative-populist coalition government of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and the FPÖ led by Vice Chancellor Heinz Christian Strache, the Austrian government has undertaken measures to stop illegal mass migration and increase border security.
Among the new measures to secure the borders includes the creation of a new border force, named Puma, initiated by FPÖ Interior Minister Herbert Kickl.
Last month the Austrian army and police staged a large-scale exercise involving 1,000 police officers, soldiers, and riot police on the border after the government of Croatia warned that up to 80,000 migrants were in various parts of the Balkans wanting to cross into Europe.