Austria to begin conducting checks at border with Italy

Austria to begin conducting checks at border with Italy |

In what can be viewed as a fresh blow to the EU’s visa-free Schengen zone, Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer has announced plans to begin restricting free travel into the country from Italy.

Austria already carries out border checks on its border with Slovenia. The practice, which has been in place since 2015, has drawn the ire of Brussels, but it looks set to be extended.

Will Austria introduce border controls with Italy, given the run on Lampedusa, a tiny Mediterranean island known for its frontline role in migration to Europe, asked Krone-Zeitung.

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

Nehammer said he had contacted his Italian counterpart about the issue. “We are monitoring this. It’s about the fight against smuggling routes,” he noted.

Vienna’s new measures add to its antagonistic behaviour, hampering one of the EU’s landmark achievements, the seemingly borderless Schengen area. Nehammer has already come under fire for vetoing the accession of Romania and Bulgaria earlier this year.

Going forward, he wants to stick to this policy despite it being deeply unpopular in Bucharest, Sofia and Berlin. “An expansion can only be implemented when the external border protection works. This is not the right time,” he told Kleine Zeitung.

(Nikolaus J. Kurmayer |

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Austria to begin conducting checks at border with Italy |

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