Austria plans to deploy soldiers to Italian border to stop refugee flows

Published April 2nd, 2016 - 12:36 GMT
Syrian family becomes emotional after surviving the treacherous crossing between Turkey and Greece. (AFP/File)
Syrian family becomes emotional after surviving the treacherous crossing between Turkey and Greece. (AFP/File)

Austria announced plans to deploy soldiers at the Brenner border shared with Italy in order to prevent refugees entering the country in an attempt to reach northern Europe, according to a statement made by Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil to a German newspaper on Saturday.

"As the EU's external borders are not yet effectively protected, Austria will soon ramp up strict border controls. That means massive border controls on at the Brenner (Pass), and with soldiers," Doskozil told Die Welt daily.

Soldiers will enable military border protection and oversee refugee registration, and assist with deportations, he added. A spokesman for Doskozil was not immediately available to comment.

Doskozil repeated his call for a joint civil-military European Union programme to reinforce the bloc's border agency Frontex border controls, in major migrational points such as in Greece, Bulgaria and Italy.

With the main route for refugees through the Balkans and Austria largely closed, due largely to Austrian border restrictions, Vienna is concerned about new routes opening through Bulgaria or Albania as Mediterranean crossings to Italy from Libya resume.

On Monday, the EU and Turkey deal on refugees begins to take effect. The plan aims to stop the flow of refugees to Europe in return for political and financial rewards for Turkey, by closing the main migration route crossed by a million migrants into Greece last year.


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