Vienna – ESI at the Diplomatische Akademie: Myths, facts and how we can do better

5 March 2024
Gerald at the Diplomatische Akademie
Gerald at the Diplomatische Akademie, Vienna. Photo: Bola Stone/Flickr

ESI’s Gerald Knaus was invited to give a presentation at the diplomatic academy of Austria in Vienna. Gerald’s presentation came as part of the panel discussion titled: “Migration, integration: Should Austria remain a country of immigration or what should change and improve?

Gerald’s presentation addressed migration myths, facts and the present lack of an effective, moral system to manage migration. He criticised the panic around a supposed explosion of refugee numbers and the vague concept of “migration pressure”.

Gerald noted that while the number of displaced has risen, most have stayed in their home countries, and the number of refugees according to the UNHCR definition who flee their home countries has remained quite steady. It pales in comparison to the number of internal migrants worldwide.

Gerald also reviewed the Austria’s asylum paradox, showcasing high numbers of granted asylum despite a reputation for tough talk on the question of refugees. The lesson: xenophobic rhetoric alone will not solve the migration issue. Gerald’s presentation concluded with advocating for humane control via diplomatic agreements, safe third countries, and legal migration paths, aiming towards a vision of zero migration-related deaths.

The panel included speakers from the Vienna municipal government, the Austrian Chancellors office and academia. It was moderated by ambassador Emil Brix, the head of the diplomatic academy.