Austria's warns it could "take measures to protect" its borders after Germany planned restrictions on the entry of migrants as part of a deal to avert a political crisis in Berlin.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (L) and his German counterpart Angela Merkel. Austria, which has Germany on its northern border, has repeatedly said it would at least match any German measures on its own frontiers further down migrant routes, such as those it shares with Italy and Slovenia.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (L) and his German counterpart Angela Merkel. Austria, which has Germany on its northern border, has repeatedly said it would at least match any German measures on its own frontiers further down migrant routes, such as those it shares with Italy and Slovenia. ( Reuters Archive )

Austria is prepared to take measures to protect its southern borders if an immigration deal within Germany's coalition goes into effect, Vienna said on Tuesday.

It comes as a response to a deal reached late on Monday between German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and her partners in Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU), settling a row over immigration that had threatened to topple the German government.

"Should this agreement become the German government's position, we see that as prompting us to take action to prevent negative consequences for Austria and its population," Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in a joint statement with two far-right members of his cabinet.

"The government is therefore prepared in particular to take measures for the protection of our southern borders," the statement by Kurz, Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache and Interior Minister Herbert Kickl said, without elaborating. 

Plan to send back Austria asylum seekers

Under the CDU/CSU deal, migrants who have already applied for asylum in other European Union countries will be held in transit centres on the border while Germany negotiates bilateral deals for their return.

Among the proposals is a plan to send back to Austria asylum seekers arriving in Germany who cannot be returned to their countries of entry into the European Union. 

Austria, which has Germany on its northern border, has repeatedly said it would at least match any German measures on its own frontiers further down migrant routes, such as those it shares with Italy and Slovenia.

Fear of domino effect

It said it would be prepared to take similar measures to block asylum seekers at its southern borders, with the risk of a domino effect in Europe.

"We are now waiting for a rapid clarification of the German position at a federal level," said the statement, signed by Kurz, Strache and Kickl.

"German considerations prove once again the importance of a common European protection of the external borders," the statement said.

Kurz on Tuesday is to present before the European Parliament in Strasbourg his priorities for Austria's six-month presidency of the European Union, with the issue of migration expected to feature prominently.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies