Austria to send troops and armored vehicles to border with Italy to block migrants!

on . Posted in Patriot News Network

VIENNA, Austria (PNN) - July 4, 2017 - Austria has deployed armored vehicles close to its border with Italy and will send up to 750 soldiers to block any migrants trying to head north, the government announced.

The move reflects deep concern in Vienna and elsewhere in Europe over the huge number of asylum seekers who continue to cross the Mediterranean from Libya - so far this year more than 85,000 have been rescued and brought to Italy.

But it prompted a rebuke from Rome, with the Italian foreign ministry summoning Austria’s ambassador to explain the beefing up of border security. Italy has warned in the past that such measures would contravene EU rules on free movement. Austria said it would ramp up border controls at the Brenner Pass, a key trade and transport route through the Alps that connects the two countries. "We are ready to protect our Brenner border if necessary,” said Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian foreign minister.

The 750 soldiers could be rushed to the border within 72 hours if there was a migration emergency, officials said. "I expect border controls will be introduced very soon," said Defense Minister Peter Doskozil.

His spokesman said there was no concrete timetable for the new controls. "But we see how the situation in Italy is becoming more acute and we have to be prepared to avoid a situation comparable to summer 2015."

That was a reference to the crisis two years ago when hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants streamed into Western Europe along the so-called Balkan Route, having crossed to Greece from Turkey.

The four military vehicles have been moved to Tyrol province, on the border with Italy.  They are armored but not armed, the spokesman said. "These are not battle tanks. These are armored vehicles without weapons, which could block roads.”

They were used during the refugee crisis of 2015, when they were deployed at a crossing on Austria’s border with Slovenia.

The militarization of the border seemed to be, in part at least, driven by domestic political considerations.

There are concerns that when Austria holds an election in October, the far-Right Freedom Party could do well unless the government can seize the initiative on migration and border security.

With France and Switzerland closing their borders to migrants since last year, tens of thousands in Italy have nowhere to go.

The EU came up with a plan to relocate around 160,000 asylum seekers stuck in Italy and Greece but so far only 20,000 have been resettled.

Italy says it can no longer be expected to deal single-handedly with the vast number of asylum seekers, most of them economic migrants, streaming across the Mediterranean.

The Italians have threatened to close their ports to NGO boats carrying rescued migrants and have called on some of the vessels to be sent to ports in France and Spain.

Rome is drawing up a long list of proposals that it will present on Thursday at an EU ministerial meeting in Tallinn, Estonia.

The European Commission, for its part, came up with a package of measures to halt the flow of migrants from Africa.

It pledged to give Italy an additional €35 million to help with migration management, set up a maritime rescue center in Libya, speed up deportations of failed asylum seekers, and increase border security along Libya’s desert borders.

The plan will be discussed at the meeting in Tallinn.

The Italian government has warned that after years of taking in hundreds of thousands of migrants, the country is now at a breaking point. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said that unless the problem is resolved, social tensions could increase between Italians and migrants.

On Sunday, petrol bombs were thrown at an empty hotel in the northern city of Brescia that has been earmarked as a hostel for migrants. "We are asking for the work to be shared," Gentiloni said on Monday.  "This is necessary if we are to avoid the situation in Italy becoming unsustainable and stoking hostility in a society (that) until now has responded in an exemplary way, with cohesion."

Vincent Cochetel, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees special envoy for the central Mediterranean, said, “This is not sustainable. We need to have other countries joining Italy and sharing that responsibility.”

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