Herbert Krauss, the senior official of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and head of the Department for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (EU), has advised Europe to learn from India how to tackle the migrant crisis.

Talking to some visiting Indian journalists in Vienna over the weekend, Krauss said that Austria and other European countries need India’s help, as these countries are facing problems in dealing with migrants. He recalled that India had successfully integrated migrants after facing the same problem in 1947. Mass migration took place in the subcontinent during Independence of India when an estimated 25 million people crossed the newly drawn borders to reach their new homelands (either India or Pakistan).

With European countries struggling to provide shelters to West Asian (mainly Syrian) refugees, Krauss said that a strategic partnership with the South Asian country could help the EU resolve the crisis. He also said that Austrian Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs Sebastian Kurz, who visited New Delhi on February 16-19, could tackle the situation with India’s help. He believes that a common agenda for migration and mobility between India and the 28-member European bloc will be beneficial for the world’s second-smallest continent (by surface area).

The senior EU official opined that the European countries should implement anti-radicalisation and social integration programmes through which India successfully brought back a huge number of young radicals to the main stream. Austria, which accepted 90,000 migrants in 2015, also needs to update its law on Islamic religion in order to integrate Syrian people into the European society, believes Krauss.

At the same time, Krauss admitted that Europe is in deep trouble because it had no prior experience in dealing with the migrant crisis. Expressing hope that the continent will “slowly, but gradually” overcome the crisis, he stressed that the European countries would have to change its domestic and social policies for integrating the migrants. According to the Austrian official, only a common security policy will serve no purpose.

Krauss once again described India as a valuable partner of Austria (as well as of Europe), saying: “As a regional power, India is very important for Europe because it is the biggest democracy on earth and has well developed democratic traditions.” “This is also the EU strategy to project democracy worldwide. I think India is a very valid partner for the EU. I was also surprised to see we have a community of 20,000 Indians in Austria. That is quite a number. Indian tourism into Austria is developing fine,” he added, noting that India is a huge market for Austrian business.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]