Austria : Migrant crisis which resulted in heavy influx into the regions of Austria has forced the government to take some strict measures with reference to sealing of border side. Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said on Wednesday that Austria has decided to build a fence along its border with fellow EU member Slovenia to slow down the migrant flow.
Both countries are part of the passport-free Schengen zone due to which each country has been forced to take in refugees without refusal, thus they have been key transit countries for tens of thousands of refugees and migrants desperately seeking to reach northern Europe via the Balkans.The Minister informed, ‘This is about ensuring an orderly, controlled entry into our country, not about shutting down the border.’ She added that the situation could result in more escalations due to the weather condition wherein people were forced to wait in freezing temperatures for hours before being allowed to cross from one nation into another.
The Minister further explained – We know that in recent days and weeks individual groups of migrants have become more impatient, aggressive and emotional. If groups of people push from behind, with children and women stuck in-between, you need stable, massive measures. This came in after Bavaria’s state premier blasted Austria a day before, for waving through thousands of refugees to Germany without informing local authorities.
Earlier, Austrian ministers had taken strict precaution against ‘border’ terminology and had avoided using the word ‘fence’ – talking instead about the need for special structural measures on the border. Last week, Mikl-Leitner drew strong criticism from opposition members for saying that it was time for the EU to build fortress Europe. Yet, Defence Minister (Social Democrats) Gerald Klug maintained a support to the idea of fence, which, he felt, was necessary in order to properly control the refugees. He also focused on the sensitive empathetic reach-out and said that Austria must not lose sight of humanity, clarifying, the approach of Hungary’s razor-sharp barbed wire fences were not the solution.
Mikl-Leitner said in a statement sent to the media that the fence would be solid and stretch several kilometers left and right of the border crossing, but did not give a date for when construction would begin. She also said that 200 police officers would be trained to become special border police, and that Austria needed an additional 2,000 officers as the force had already got stretched to its limits.