Skip to main content

World Germany, Austria plan talks with Italy to ‘shut’ southern migrant route

Germany and Austria said on Thursday they will hold talks with Italy next week on how to jointly “shut” the migration route across the Mediterranean from Africa into Europe, but also said they could act against Rome if it did not cooperate.

After a meeting with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said his government’s plans for new immigration measures at their shared border would not make Austria responsible for people arriving there who had already sought asylum in another European Union country.

“We agreed ... that next week there will be a meeting of the German, Austrian and Italian interior ministers with the goal of taking measures to shut the Mediterranean route into Europe, to make sure that illegal immigration to Europe on this route is stopped,” Kurz told a joint news conference.

Story continues below advertisement

Seehofer said the meeting would happen in the run-up to a meeting of European interior ministers in the Austrian city of Innsbruck on Thursday and Friday of next week.

Seehofer’s Christian Social Union (CSU) has been pressuring German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) to take tougher measures on immigration or face the end of the new coalition government.

The two sides have agreed on a plan to hold migrants seeking to enter Germany from Austria in transit centers from where those who have sought asylum elsewhere in the EU will be sent back to that country. That plan must still be approved by the other coalition member, the Social Democrats.

Kurz, an immigration hard-liner who governs in coalition with the far right and is close to Seehofer’s CSU, said the two sides agreed Germany’s plans at the border would not harm Austria and that they would instead work together on stemming illegal immigration.

Merkel is holding talks with countries including Italy and Greece - where the lion’s share of new arrivals first land in the EU - on deals to take back migrants who first registered there before reaching Germany.

“If the talks with Greece and Italy fail, we will have to think again about measures,” Seehofer said.

Kurz - whose country’s border with Italy includes the Brenner pass, an important north-south transport link - was more explicit about what might happen if a deal with Italy was not reached.

Story continues below advertisement

“Then Germany as well as Austria will of course have to take measures that in practice lead to the implementation of what should be European law,” he said. He did not elaborate on the possible measures.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter