• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Refugee Crisis
Austria to build Slovenia border fence
Johanna Mikl-Leitner (centre). Photo: Christian Schulter

Austria to build Slovenia border fence

The Local/AFP · 28 Oct 2015, 08:59

Published: 28 Oct 2015 08:59 GMT+01:00

Both countries are part of the passport-free Schengen zone and have been key transit countries for tens of thousands of refugees and migrants desperately seeking to reach northern Europe via the Balkans.

"This is about ensuring an orderly, controlled entry into our country, not about shutting down the border," she told public broadcaster Ö1.

Mikl-Leitner, a member of the conservative ÖVP party, added that the situation risked escalating as people were forced to wait in freezing temperatures for hours before being allowed to cross from one nation into another.

"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," she said.

Austria 'out of line'

However, Germany said on Wednesday that Europe's refugee crisis cannot be solved with the construction of border fences or walls.

"We do not believe that the current migrant crisis that Europe is facing can be resolved with the building of fences or walls," said government spokesman Steffen Seibert, adding that the problem could only be dealt with if Europe stood united.

Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has hit out at Austria for sending asylum seekers to its border without any warning, saying the neighbouring country's behaviour was "out of line".

"The behaviour of Austria in recent days was out of line. We have to complain that refugees were driven without any warning after dark to... the German border," he said.

De Maiziere said both sides have discussed the problem, and that "Austria yesterday pledged to return to an orderly process." "I expect that to happen immediately. We are in constant contact on that aspect," he added.

'Fortress Europe'

Previously, Austrian ministers 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".

Story continues below…

But Defence Minister Gerald Klug, of the Social Democrats, told Ö1 radio that he supports the idea of a fence, which is necessary "in order to properly control the refugees" but that "we must not lose sight of humanity". He added that Hungary's razor-sharp barbed wire fences were not the solution.

The Secretary-General of Amnesty Austria, Heinz Patzelt, told Ö1 that fences are "a symbol of a lack of solidarity" - and that barriers would not deter refugees from trying to enter Austria.

Mikl-Leitner said in a statement sent to the media that the fence would be "solid and stretch several kilometres 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 needs an additional 2,000 officers as the force is stretched to its limits.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/AFP (news.austria@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
First poll predicts Austrian far-right to win election re-run
Photo: Norbert Hofer/Instagram

The first poll taken ahead of the repeat of the Austrian presidential election in October has put the previously defeated far-right candidate a few percentages ahead of his rival.

12 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Andrew Kuznetsov/Creative Commons

Sure-fire ways to get off on the wrong foot in the German language.

Austrian police assess risks in refugee homes
Caritas Wien

Austrian police are going into asylum centres to encourage friendly relations with locals and to try to spot and prevent radicalisation of refugees.

FBI hack 50 computers in Austria in criminal operation
Photo: @matylda/hackNY/CreativeCommons

A mass hacking carried out by the American FBI in 2015 as part of an international child pornography investigation affected 50 computers in Austria with a virus.

Salzburg Festival: 'soul food in troubled times'
The festivla director Helga Rabl-Stadler and president Sven-Eric Bechtolf. Photo: Salzburger Festspiele / Luigi Caputo

The Salzburg Festival kicked off on Thursday, with organisers hoping the classical arts extravaganza would give visitors some respite from the "troubled times" Europe is facing.

Austrian festival ups security in wake of attacks
Photo: Lake Festival

Organisers of a festival in Austria expected to see hundreds of thousands of visitors say they have tightened security at the site following recent terror attacks around Europe.

Mystery priest skull and hat discovered in Austria
Photo: ORF screengrab

A priest carrying out renovation work on a church in Austria was surprised to discover a skull that could be up to 900 years old buried in a hidden wall cavity.

Opinion
Austrian case offers British expats hope after Brexit
Jose Manuel Mota/Creative Commons

A legal case concerning an Austrian who gained then lost German citizenship might offer hope to British expats concerned about residency rights following Brexit.

Linz ordered to pay €9 million for lost Klimt and Schiele art
One of Egon Schiele’s paintings in his Tote Stadt series. Image: Wikimedia

The city of Linz has been ordered by Austria’s highest court to pay nearly €9 million to the heirs of an art collector after losing four pieces of artwork she owned by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

Terror conspiracy suspects to be extradited
Linz High Court. Photo: www.justiz.gv.at

Austria is to hand over to France two suspected members of the same Islamic State group unit who massacred 130 people in Paris last November, officials and media reports said Wednesday.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Politics
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Gallery
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
National
Another 10 million Euros for fresh elections
Society
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Don't hesitate - break the window
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Sport
Ready to watch some football? Here's how!
National
Cake rules
Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Politics
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Features
Refugees need practical help
Lifestyle
All you need to know about Austrian Faschingskrapfen
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Why looking good on the ski slopes has never been easier
Lifestyle
Live in Austria? You might develop some of these weird habits
National
How 'Silent Night' rules the carol world
2,491
jobs available