Immigrants In Austria: Integration or Expulsion?

Brunnen Market in Vienna, Austria - Photo: Jessica Horner

Brunnen Market in Vienna, Austria. (Photo: Jessica Horner)

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]
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AboutJelena Kopanja
Jelena Kopanja is former Feet in 2 Worlds contributor. She is a graduate of New York University’s Global and Joint Studies Program, with concentrations in Journalism and Latin American Studies. She was born in Bosnia, from where she brought her love of good coffee and baklava. Prior to her graduate work, she was involved in immigrant communities as an ESL volunteer instructor and an interpreter for Spanish and Bosnian.