Austria says it’s prepared to protect its southern border if Germany moves on migrants

Austria’s government says it’s prepared to take unspecified measures to protect the country’s southern border if neighboring Germany implements a plan to reject some migrants at its frontier.

The Austria Press Agency reported that Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, his vice chancellor and interior minister said Tuesday the deal to end a crisis in the German government suggests “Germany wants to take national measures to tackle migration flows.”

Under the deal, migrants who have already applied for asylum in other European Union countries will be held in transit centers on the border while Germany negotiates bilateral deals for their return.

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If that becomes the German government’s position, they said Austria “is prepared in particular to take measures to protect our southern borders” with Italy and Slovenia.

“Should this agreement become the German government’s position, we see that as prompting us to take action to prevent negative consequences for Austria and its population,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said.

“The government is therefore prepared in particular to take measures for the protection of our southern borders,” the statement by Kurz, Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache and Interior Minister Herbert Kickl said, without elaborating.