VIENNA (Reuters) - A cap on asylum claims announced by Austria in January does not break European Union law, according to a legal opinion commissioned by the Austrian government, daily Oberoesterreichische Nachrichten said on Tuesday, citing government sources.
Austria, which has a population of 8.4 million and last year received 90,000 applications for asylum, has said it will limit the number of refugees it accepts this year to 37,500.
The Austrian government was not immediately available for comment on the report. Oberoesterreichische Nachrichten said the legal opinion would be published no earlier than mid-week.
The newspaper said European law specialist Walter Obwexer and Bernd-Christian Funk, a specialist on constitutional law, had confirmed that capping asylum claims was legal.
They referred in particular to Article 72 of the European Union Treaty, which allows intervention in fundamental freedoms and EU rules if national sovereignty is at risk, it said. Limiting asylum claims at Austria’s southern border to 80 per day could meanwhile be justified for “technical reasons”.
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has urged Germany to set a clear limit on the number of asylum seekers it will accept, to help stem the unprecedented influx of migrants that is severely testing European cohesion.
Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Catherine Evans