Austria building more border protection

  • 15/02/2016

Austria will start building new facilities to better protect its borders, notably the one with Italy, underlining efforts to limit admissions of migrants.

Austria recently built a 3.7 kilometre fence at its busiest border crossing with Slovenia, Spielfeld, saying this would help manage the flow of new arrivals onto its territory.

Chancellor Werner Faymann said in an interview with the daily Oesterreich, published on Sunday, that new measures on the Italian border, including the "Brenner" border crossing, are already on their radar.

"It's already February. I'm not willing to let more time pass. It's too late for that.

"In March, one can expect a new wave of migrants. So we have to build the technical facilities now so they are ready for use when we need them."

Faymann said the defence and the interior ministries would specify what the border control system will look like.

The newspaper had reported earlier that a fence was planned for the Brenner crossing, but that the government first wanted to see how efficient the fence at the Spielfeld crossing would turn out to be.

The new border management system at Spielfeld aims to speed up applications while making sure no asylum seekers can enter the country without undergoing thorough checks and registration.

Austria, which has a population of 8.4 million and last year received 90,000 applications for asylum, has said it will limit the number of refugees it accepts this year to 37,500.

"We've set this threshold and it remains valid," Faymann said, adding he had to take responsibility for Austria even if Italy and Germany were not pleased.

Austria told Macedonia on Friday to be ready to "completely stop" the flow of migrants across its southern border from Greece, warning that Vienna would do the same on its own frontiers within months.