Germany and Austria Turn on Britain As Europe's Migrant Crisis Worsens

Germany and Austria Warn Britain
A migrant sits with her children outside the main railway station in Munich, Germany, September 1, 2015. Senior Austrian and Germany politicians have warned Britain that it must accept more migrants and asylum seekers or else face having its demands for EU renegotiation rejected. Lukas Barth/Reuters

Senior Austrian and German politicians have warned Britain that it must accept more migrants and asylum seekers or else face having its demands for EU renegotiation rejected, in a further sign of increasing hostility to the UK's attitude to the migrant crisis currently facing Europe.

The Austrian chancellor, Werner Faymann, warned that he would block British prime minister David Cameron's demands for renegotiation of the UK's EU membership unless he showed "solidarity" and accepted more of Europe's migrants and asylum seekers.

"The next financial framework negotiations are coming up," Mr Faymann told an Austrian television channel on Tuesday."When I think of the British, who have their own catalogue of demands, why should we do anything for them?" he said. "Because, you have to say, solidarity is not a one-way street."

Cameron has pledged to hold a referendum on whether the UK should remain in the EU by 2017. On Friday he will visit Lisbon and Madrid in order to resume his negotiations with EU leaders, the Guardian newspaper reports. Cameron is keen to drum up support for new terms of the UK's membership, including imposing a four-year ban on EU migrants claiming benefits and giving national parliaments a greater chance to block EU legislation.

Meanwhile, Stephan Mayer, a spokesman on home affairs for Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats party, told The Times newspaper: "If the British government is continuing to hold this position that Great Britain is out of the club in this big task in sharing the [migrant] burden, certainly this could do some harm to the bilateral British-German relationship, and certainly also to David Cameron's ambitions to be successful in the renegotiation [of Britain's EU relationship]."

"I have always had sympathy and understanding for the British role in the EU and the demands for renegotiation," he continued. "But we are now in such a huge humanitarian catastrophe, I do not have any sympathy or understanding for one-country-orientated positions."

The German tabloid newspaper Bild yesterday published a photo of Cameron accompanied by the headline: "The slackers of Europe—they take far fewer refugees than they could," in another sign of Europe's growing frustration with the UK stance.

#Britain are the 'slackers of #Europe' on refugees, taking 114 per 1m people, #Germany takes 905 says Bild newspaper

— David Charter (@DavidCharter) August 31, 2015

Germany last month raised its official forecast for the number of asylum seekers it expects to receive this year to 800,000. In July, 107,500 migrants entered the European Union according to border agency Frontex. The UK granted asylum to roughly 10,000 refugees last year according to statistics produced by the Economist magazine—a significantly lower figure than most other wealthy western European countries.

Past and present Labour figures, including the former foreign secretary David Miliband and Yvette Cooper have spoken out this week in favor of the UK accepting more migrants and asylum seekers. Miliband said yesterday in an interview with the Guardian newspaper: "There needs to be some burden-sharing...bigger countries taking more people than smaller countries, richer countries taking more people than poorer countries."