Austria Brings Tanks to Italian Border as Migration Becomes ‘Unmanageable’

Friday, July 7, 2017
By Paul Martin

After Austria sends soldiers and tanks to defend its border with Italy at Brenner, Italian politicians are urged to follow a similar policy and close their ports to migrant boats.

On Tuesday, Austria sent 750 soldiers and four Pandur armored carriers to the Brenner border checkpoint with Italy, in anticipation of possible deterioration in the security situation there amid fears of a further migrant influx.
The Italian Foreign Ministry summoned Rene Pollitzer, the Austrian ambassador to Rome, over the plans to strengthen border controls and called for EU sanctions on Austria for a “lack of solidarity.”

Italy is struggling to cope with the increasing numbers of migrants who are arriving on its shores. Up to Monday July 3, 85,183 migrants arrived on its shores this year, an increase of 20 percent on the 71,279 migrants who arrived during the same period last year.

Italy’s ambassador to the European Union, Maurizio Massari, described the situation as “unmanageable.” In a meeting with EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, Massari reportedly said that Italy is considering closing its ports to boats carrying migrants.

Maurizio Massari told Avramopoulos that “the situation we are facing is serious and Europe cannot turn its back,” an Italian government source told Reuters.

“The idea of blocking humanitarian ships flying foreign flags from returning to Italian ports has been discussed,” another Italian government source said.

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