Brussels seeks Austria’s backing for EU asylum reforms

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is in Vienna on Sunday looking to get Austria's backing for reforms to the European Union's asylum laws, as the bloc continues to fight over how to deal with arrivals predominantly from the Middle East and North Africa.

The commission wants to put forward a sustainable plan for how to deal with migrant arrivals by the end of March,Von der Leyen said during a reception event in Vienna, dpa reported. This plan would also deal with the so-called Dublin regulations that govern which countries are responsible for which asylum seekers, she said. "And here we need your support," she said, turning to Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who won elections in October enabling his conservatives to form a new government with the Greens. Austria had "a high degree of credibility" with eastern European countries, she said. These same countries have opposed reforms to the Dublin rules in order to avoid having to take in more migrants.Austria's priority was to protect the external borders of the EU, Kurz said.

The two leaders' talks were also expected to cover climate change, the Balkans and Brexit.

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