Austria begins construction on Italian border refugee barrier

The barrier is being built as a response to the anticipated flow of refugees trying to enter Austria from Italy

Samuel Osborne@SamuelOsborne93
Tuesday 12 April 2016 20:38
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Austrian police say they have begun pouring concrete for foundations of a registration hall, barriers and other structures at Brenner, on the Italian-Austrian border
Austrian police say they have begun pouring concrete for foundations of a registration hall, barriers and other structures at Brenner, on the Italian-Austrian border

Austria has began construction of an anti-refugee barrier across their border with Italy.

Police say work on creating a border control across the Brenner pass is scheduled to be completed by the end of May.

They say have begun pouring concrete for foundations of a registration hall, barriers and other structures.

The barrier is being built as a response to the anticipated flow of refugees trying to enter Austria after arriving in Italy from the Mediterranean.

Austrian officials say refugees trying to reach prosperous EU countries will likely use the route through Austria from Italy now there is no free passage from Turkey into Greece and the Western Balkan route.

The European Union has said it is very concerned about the plans to set up border controls.

Natasha Bertaud, a spokeswoman for the European Commission said: "The Commission is very concerned.

"If these plans were to materialise then we would have to look at them very seriously.

"The Brenner Pass is essential for the freedom of movement within the European Union."

Amid deportations, refugees scramble to reach Europe

However, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann defended his country's decision to build the barrier.

He said it is "politically necessary and important to take the needed steps".

The number of refugees arriving in Italy has risen sharply over the last few months following a controversial deal to return refugees to Turkey.

Additional reporting by agencies

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