In Austria, and across Europe more broadly, governments are beginning to impose strict immigration policies. As in the U.S., many politicians are capitalizing on frustration with the economic recession and blaming immigrants for “stealing jobs” from the native-born population. In Austria, Heinz Christian Strache, the Freedom Party leader, continues to make gains in the polls with his firm anti-foreigner agenda.
But one neighborhood in Vienna tells a different story about the impact of immigration. 15 years ago Brunnen Market was largely abandoned and derelict. Now it is a bustling place of small shops and restaurants–mostly owned by immigrants. In this area, 40 percent of residents are immigrants or the children of immigrants, many of whom are Muslims hailing from Turkey and the former Yugoslavia who originally came to Europe on guest-worker programs.
At this point, a third of Vienna’s population has a “migrant” background. Their integration into Austrian society is a constant subject of debate in the country.
Fi2W’s Jelena Kopanja produced this radio story about the controversy:[audio: Kopanja_festival.mp3]