Austria rejects calls for German border controls

Austria rejects calls for German border controls
Austria's border with Bavaria. Photo: Mike Gnell/
The Austrian interior ministry has rejected calls for the reintroduction of border controls with Germany, following claims from the German state of Bavaria that large numbers of refugees are crossing the border.

On Sunday, Bavaria’s interior minister Joachim Herrmann demanded more police checks on the Austrian border. “Given the huge problems on Bavaria’s border with Austria, the federal police must be significantly strengthened,” Herrmann said.

An Austrian police source told the Kronen Zeitung that Bavaria would only be “harming itself if it tries to reintroduce pre-Schengen border controls”.

Countries belonging to the Schengen area allow passport-free movement across their borders, making it easier to travel. Members of the Schengen agreement may reinstate border controls for a short period, if this is necessary for “public policy or national security” reasons.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for a common EU asylum policy to help deal with the current influx of refugees.

Speaking on ZDF public television, Merkel said the Dublin agreement, which accords responsibility for processing asylum seekers to the EU country in which they first arrive, was not working.

She said the EU also needed agreement on which countries asylum seekers could be returned to if their applications were rejected.

Some German officials have said the number of asylum-seekers could top 600,000 this year, and thousands of refugees are sleeping in tents.