Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeE.U.Austria will tighten controls at Italian border

Austria will tighten controls at Italian border

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has announced the start of restrictions on free entry to Austria from Italy. The move could be seen as a new blow to the EU’s visa-free Schengen zone, Euractiv reported.

Austria has already established border controls on its border with Slovenia. This practice, in place since 2015, has displeased Brussels, but it looks like it will be extended.

It is not yet known whether border controls will be set up on the border with Italy due to the migration situation on Lampedusa, notes the Krone-Zeitung. Lampedusa is a small island in the Mediterranean Sea between Tunisia, Malta and the large Italian island of Sicily. Nehammer explained:

“Yes. The Minister of the Interior has already made appropriate arrangements for dragnet controls at the Austrian-Italian border.”

Nehammer said he had contacted his Italian counterpart about the issue. He added:

“We are monitoring this. It’s about the fight against smuggling routes.”

Austria’s new border measures hinder one of the EU’s landmark achievements in creating a borderless Schengen zone. Nehammer has previously been criticized for vetoing the EU accession of Romania and Bulgaria earlier this year.

Nehammer plans to continue to stick to its policy despite its deep unpopularity in Bucharest, Sofia and Berlin. He told:

“An expansion can only be implemented when the external border protection works. This is not the right time.”

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