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Vintner backs down in Austrian border fence protest

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Soldiers began constructing the fence in December. File photo: ORF
11:07 CET+01:00
Austrian vintner Erich Polz has backed down over his refusal to allow a fence to stop refugees entering the country to be built on his property after being told his wine was being boycotted.

Polz, who owns property on Austria's border with Slovenia near the town of Spielfeld, had branded the idea as madness and refused to allow the fence to go over his property.

Austria is spending €10 million on the fence and has been criticised by groups working to help refugees who said that the money would be better spent on winter accommodation.

Although only a small gap, it meant the fence being built would be largely ineffective in stopping the influx of migrants and refugees.

Local police spokesman Josef Reich at the time confirmed: "One home owner is not in favour of the fence on his land."

When it was revealed that this hole would need a permanent police presence to stop it becoming an open door for refugees, the vintner ended up being bombarded with complaints and was also made aware that people would stop buying his wine.

Announcing his decision to allow the fence he said: "I can't say I am pleased about it, and I'm not going to charge anything for putting the fence there, I don't want to profit from it. But the truth is I received so many emails, half of which were saying they would feel safer if the fence was built."

He said some were even stronger in their criticism and told him that they would never again buy Polz wine.

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The fence is expected to be finished by the end of this month.

Story courtesy of Central European News.

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