Austria to set up 3.7 km fence along its Slovenian border

Austria to build 3.7 kilometre barb wire metal fence along its border with Slovenia to control refugees flow into Austria

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Slovenian soldiers build a razor wire fence on the Slovenian-Croatian border in Gibina, northeastern Slovenia, on November 11, 2015.

Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner announced on Friday it would set up a 3.7 kilometre (2.3-mile) metal fence on its Slovenian border to control the migrants and refugees flow into Austria.

She said that, "Because of the Slovenian commitment, we’ll build the 3.7 km section of fence with all the necessary resources for a 25 km one. But if there’s any reason for the police to believe that there are illegal crossings, they will be able to extend the fence within 48 hours."

Austria had initially wanted to establish a 25-kilometre fence however, "our Slovenian colleagues have asked us to not do this immediately," said Johanna Mikl-Leitner.

"They have offered to increase border security measures by erecting a fence to create a safety corridor and to reinforce police patrols on the Slovenian side to prevent [unofficial] border crossings."

Leitner also indicated that the barb wire for each part of the Spielfeld border intersection point in southern Austria will be 2.2 metres high.

Josef Ostermayer, Chancellor Werner Faymann's chief of staff, stated in a news conference: "We are talking here about an ordered inflow and not a barrier."

The razor wire will be laid out in containers to be built along the border in case of need, Ostermayer said.

The decision came following Slovenia building a razor wire fence along its borderline with non-Schengen member Croatia.

Slovenia and Croatia have a 330-kilometre common border and both countries are on the key road for refugees, arriving into prosperous  European countries.

Slovenian soldiers set barbed wire fences on the Slovenian-Croatian border near Rakovec on November 12, 2015.

Meanwhile, Austria expects a record of approximately 95,000 asylum seekers until the end of this year.

Tens of thousands of refugees from conflict-hit states in the Middle East and Africa have been trying to flee to Europe in recent months.

For refugees headed to Germany and Austria, Slovenia has become a major transit point, since Hungary has fenced its border with both Serbia and Croatia.

According to the figures given by the UN for 2015, nearly 800,000 people in total were able to cross the Mediterranean and reach European countries and 20 percent of refugees who arrived in Europe were children.

Six percent of arrivals were from Iraq, 18 percent were from Afghanistan and more than half of the arrivals were from Syria - where a civil war has killed more than 300,000 and forced 10.6 million people to flee the country since 2011.

At least 3,400 refugees have drowned while attempting to cross into Europe this year.

TRTWorld and agencies