Austria says refugee flow to be slowed gradually

Austria takes measures on its border to bring refugee flow in Europe under control

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Refugees walk as they cross the border from Hungary to Nickelsdorf, Austria, September 26, 2015.

The refugee flow passing through the Balkans towards Germany will be slowed by the countries along the route as part of a coordinated “domino effect”, said Austrian interior minister on Tuesday.

Austria played a corridor role for neighbouring Germany, allowing hundreds of thousands of people onto its territory many of them being Syrian refugees, since the two countries opened their borders in September 2015.

The country has taken similar number of refugees with Germany in proportion to its far smaller population and the coalition government has doubts about not being able to cope with the influx if it is not taken under control.

Vienna is turning to a “Plan B” aiming to stem the flow of people without going through Brussels, due to the European measures addressing the continent’s migration crisis faces mounting delays and public support for the far right having risen.

Austria has already stated that they will narrow the refuge applications to less than half of the last year’s total, and Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz told Macedonia last week to be ready to stop the flow of refugees crossing its southern border entirely, adding that Austria would soon do the same.

"The domino effect along the Balkan route is developing according to plan," said Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner, who is expected to announce new border measures later on Tuesday, reported by Austrian newspaper Kurier.

"It is important that each country progressively restrict the flow on its border, and that we do that in agreement with each other," she said, adding: "The brakes are being applied step by step."

Macedonia has erected two lines of metal fencing topped with razor wire along its border at the main crossing point for refugees.

Austria has also erected barriers and lays out approximately 4 kilometer long fence for crowd-control measures at its main crossing for refugees, at Spielfeld and Kurier said the country is preparing to introduce similar cautions into further west of Karawankentunnel crossing, two locations on the border of Slovenia.

The paper said that the installation of such barriers was also possible at the Brenner crossing with Italy, a crucial transport link, adding that border supervision might be strengthened at the nine other crossings on the Italian, Slovenian and Hungarian borders.

TRTWorld and agencies