Austria says to ’protect’ its borders after German migrant deal
VIENNA - Agence France Presse
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz holds a news conference after meeting European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 6, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Austria’s government warned Tuesday 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.
If the agreement reached Monday evening is approved by the German government as a whole, "we will be obliged to take measures to avoid disadvantages for Austria and its people," the Austrian government said in a statement.
It added it would be "ready to take measures to protect our southern borders in particular," those with Italy and Slovenia.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel reached a compromise deal Monday on migration with her rebellious interior minister, Horst Seehofer, to defuse a bitter row that had threatened her government.
Austria 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 Austria’s conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his allies of the far-right Freedom party, Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache and Interior Minister Herbert 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.