More halls will be needed

On Tuesday, State Councilor Christian Gantner is trying to level the waves with regard to the large district in Schwarzach.

In the difficult search for larger refugee quarters, the communities and population would be involved in good time and not presented with a fait accompli. “This year we opened three quarters with more than 100 beds”. It was always important to us to inform the communities at an early stage,” emphasizes Gantner,” explains Gantner. As soon as concrete talks are opened, his first call is to the relevant mayor so that he does not find out from other sources. As a former mayor, this is important to him personally. The project was presented to Schwarzach on Wednesday, and to date there has been neither a signed contract nor a preliminary contract.

“We don’t drive over anyone, we rely on dialogue,” emphasizes the ÖVP state councillor. The hall in Schwarzach, which is currently under construction, was offered to the state by the client, and on Monday the property owner rejected it. “For me, this underlines once again that this project is at a very early stage,” emphasizes Gantner.

900 beds are missing

The Asylum Councilor is under no illusions that halls will still be needed as a bridging solution. There are currently 3100 people in Vorarlberg, according to the distribution key there should be 4000. 57 percent of them come from Ukraine, asylum seekers come mainly from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq and India. In 2015 there were eight quarters with more than 100 beds in the country. At present, including Ukrainian war refugees, almost twice as many people in Austria are in basic care.

“We see it as our responsibility to accommodate these people accordingly,” says Gantner Zelten, in return. Halls are better than containers and these are better than tents. “I am clearly of the opinion that a hall is not a permanent solution,” assures Gantner. The goal remains to accommodate people in small quarters in all communities in Vorarlberg.

The signals from the communities are positive. “We know that we can only handle the situation together,” emphasizes Gantner. Cities like Dornbirn, Feldkirch and Hohenems would also achieve a lot in absolute numbers. “We invite all communities that have not yet accommodated refugees to participate.”

Less private accommodation

In the case of the war-displaced Ukrainians in particular, it is evident that the trend is increasingly moving from private accommodation to organized quarters. It will therefore need several halls to meet the quota. Here one is in talks with owners of halls, the church and monasteries. Messe Dornbirn is currently not being audited.

With reference to the situation at the borders, such as the entry of Indians into the EU via Serbia, Gantner sees little point in Austrian border controls: “The answer can and must be European.”

The whole show to watch

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