• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Italy migrant route must end, says Austria
Hundreds of thousands of migrants enter Europe each year via Italy. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Italy migrant route must end, says Austria

The Local · 14 Mar 2016, 11:57

Published: 14 Mar 2016 11:57 GMT+01:00

There were 90 minute traffic jams at Austria’s border with Germany over the weekend as a result of continuous border checks by police, introduced to try and control the movement of refugees and migrants.

In one section, a backlog of cars stretched back 14 kilometres on Saturday as motorists tried to make their way to Germany on Tyrol’s A12 road.

The route between the Austrian town of Kufstein and the southern German town of Kiefersfelden is popular with ski tourists and other holiday-makers in the region. Some motorists who tried to avoid the back-up caused by police checks by taking another route found themselves stuck as other roads in the region also came to a standstill.

It follows warnings a few weeks ago from tourism bosses in the region, who protested that the border controls will cause problems for holiday-makers to Tyrol and put them off coming.

Calls to end Italian Mediterranean route

Meanwhile, Austria’s Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz called for further border controls on Sunday, saying that following the closure of the Balkan route for migrants, he now also wants to shut off the Italian Mediterranean route into Austria.

In an interview with the Sunday edition of Germany’s Bild newspaper, Kurz said: “We must do everything that we did for the Balkan route for the Italian-Mediterranean route so that it is clear the time of waving through refugees to central Europe has past, no matter which route it is.”

He also criticised the policy of other countries, adding: “We must stop state-organised transportation of every refugee who arrives to Greece to central Europe. We have fulfilled the wishes of the refugees, which was understandable from a human perspective. But we have also ensured that continuously more refugees make the journey. It was correct to put a stop to the Balkan route.”

Cardinal speaks out about Austrian policy

His comments follow those made by Austria’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, who said the move to close the Balkan route was “an act lacking European solidarity”.

Story continues below…

He also added that he understands that Austria went ahead with Balkan partners to close the route by themselves but said he sees this is only be an “emergency measure”. “That cannot, however, be the last word”, he added.

The Cardinal, who himself grew up as a refugee in Austria after his family fled Bohemia in the Czech Republic after the Second World War, also praised Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, describing her as a “brave and clever woman”.

He added: “And she is the person in Europa who says it the strongest and clearest that we must shoulder the problem together. I wish many European politicians had this clarity - including those in Austria who at one time stood fully behind Angela Merkel.”

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Today's headlines
Refugee crisis
At least 1,000 feared dead in nine migrant boat wrecks
An image of a migrant boat wreck taking by the Italian navy last week. Photo: Marina Militare

At least 1,000 people are thought to have drowned or are missing in nine migrant shipwrecks in the Mediterranean over the last six days, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday.

Ten Airbnb apartments where you'll feel at home in Rome
Photo: Moyann Brenn

Our pick of the best apartments to spend your Rome vacation.

Panic as three earthquakes strike Umbria
Schools in the Umbrian town of Orvieto were closed on Tuesday after strong tremors were felt. Photo: Yaniv Ben-Arie

An earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale struck the central Italian region of Umbria on Monday night, and was followed by two smaller quakes this morning, creating panic among residents and closing schools in the hilltop town of Orvieto.

Video
Fourteen people injured in Turin paints factory explosion
Fourteen people were injured in a fire at a paint factory on Monday night. Photo: YouReporter

Fourteen people, seven of them firefighters, were injured in an explosion which also completely destroyed a paints factory near Turin on Monday night.

Disgraced Concordia captain awaits appeal verdict
Francesco Schettino during his first instance trial last year. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

An appeals court in Florence will make a decision later today.

Italian admits burning his ex alive 'because she left him'
Rome Flying Squad chief Luigi Silipo and prosecutor Maria Monteleone during a press conference on Monday. Screengrab: RepTV/La Repubblica

A 27-year-old man has admitted to burning his ex-girlfriend alive because he “couldn’t accept that she abandoned him”.

Refugee crisis
No longer just a job: the unlikely crew saving lives
Antoine Laurent, one of the merchant seamen aboard MS Aquarius. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

They are unlikely members of the same crew: career seamen for whom it was initially just another job and landlubber humanitarian workers trying to make the world a better place.

Migrant crossings to Italy - what do we know?
A report this month said there were around 800,000 migrants in Libya waiting to attempt the journey across the Mediterranean. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

With 13,000 people rescued in one week and hundreds presumed drowned, what do we know about migrant flows across the Mediterranean to Italy?

Italian gran drives wrong way along motorway...for 7km
The 80-year-old was heading home after going for pizza in Alghero, Sardinia. Photo: Cost of Living/Flickr

The 80-year-old was returning home – in pouring rain - to Sassari after spending the evening with friends at a pizzeria in Alghero, Sardinia, but took the wrong direction on the SS 291.

Video
Severe storms and flash floods wreak havoc in Milan
Severe storms caused flash floods in Milan on Monday. Photo: YouReporter

A hospital accident and emergency unit was flooded, while the River Lambro burst its banks.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Politics
Quiz: Silvio Berlusconi versus Donald Trump - who said it?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Crew who sunk with WWII sub 'wanted to be found': relative
Culture
Why the average ancient Roman worker was dead by 30
Did a Nazi official save Ponte Vecchio from destruction?
National
How the brutal murder of an anti-mafia hero altered Sicily
Travel
These are the best beaches within easy reach of Rome
National
Why Italians are falling out of love with the EU
Business & Money
Foreign, female and a self-made success in arduous Italy
National
How Italy's richest region is feeling the migrant strain
Culture
Rome mulls 'metro museum' after new line unearths ruin
National
Why Italy's facing a birth rate apocalypse
National
Why talk of barriers is opening up old wounds in South Tyrol
Culture
Huge Roman villa found under Amalfi church set to open
Travel
Two men kicked off plane in what captain calls 'racist act'
Meet the expats making a career out of Italian food
Society
'Staying single is why I'm the world's oldest person'
Travel
Where can you find the best beaches in Italy?
The ultimate guide to the insanity of driving in Italy
Travel
Eight of Rome's most tantalizing foreign food gems
Migrant arrivals in Italy top 30,000 for 2016: navy
Italy’s deadliest earthquakes over the last 100 years
2,524
jobs available