Austria introduces tougher border controls

Austria has introduced controls of trucks at its eastern border after the recent tragedy in which 71 refugees lost their lives in a truck driven by traffickers.

Source: Tanjug

Since Sunday evening, Austria has been implementing checks that were in place before the Schengen Agreement came into force.

Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner has ordered all larger vehicles, with places where illegal migrants could be hiding, to be stopped and controlled.

The Austrian police warned the minister that the tragedy "could repeat at any time" because recently vehicles with dozens of migrants traveling in the space meant to carry freight had been discovered.

New controls should be implemented on all international main roads, with a major focus toward Germany and Slovakia, in cooperation with the local police.

The ministry pointed out they were aware the temporary checks would lead to delays and congestion at borders, but said the priority was to save lives and fight against smugglers effectively.

Reports on Monday said that a 20-kilometer line had formed from the border into Hungary, as a result of new controls.

Mikl-Leitner said that the authorities were faced with criminals who have no scruples, and that for this reason, they must be acted against in a tough manner.

According to her, the message is that traffickers will not be able to feel safe in Austria, "because if they are caught they will have to go to prison."

"Criminals are internationally networked and operate in that way. Therefore, we must also act internationally," the interior minister pointed out, referring to the agreed cooperation with Bavarian, Hungarian and Slovakian authorities.

At the same time, the Red Cross has started preparations at the Nickelsdorf-Hegyeshalom crossing for a mass arrival of migrants.

The police expect an inflow of up to 7,000 people who crossed from Serbia into Hungary before the latter country completed its border wall, and should now reach Austria.

The Austrian army also began setting up tent settlements for the reception of refugees.


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