Austria starts border management facilities construction on border with Italy

April 14, 2016 3:22 am 

VIENNA, April 13 — Austria has began the construction of border management facilities at the Brenner Pass on the shared border with Italy on Tuesday despite protests from the Italian government, local media reported.

The construction will be similar to border management infrastructure at the Slovenian border, intended to control the influx of migrants in light of the ongoing crisis.

The first part of the construction, due to be completed by the end of May, include roofing and a traffic island. Local authorities said traffic at the motorway will not be affected by the construction.

The traffic entering the controls will be split into four lanes, two each for cars and trucks. Those deemed to warrant closer inspection will be directed to a parking lot.

International traffic will be affected as little as possible, reports said, though delays cannot be ruled out.

Italian official in charge of European affairs Sandro Gozi labeled the controls as a "grave mistake."

He said the construction is a breach of European rules, reiterating sentiments of other officials, with concerns particularly centered on the economic impact of such barrier.

Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner rejected the concerns and claimed that Austria is only doing what it announced weeks ago, in preparation for potentially uncontrollable streams of migrants.

She noted that while Austria will "do everything it can" to keep free travel open at the border, Italy will also have to play a part to ensure there are no mass streams of migrants wishing to cross at the Brenner Pass. (PNA/Xinhua)

JSV/EBP

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