Austria to Cooperate with Bulgaria, Others on Boosting Border Controls

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | February 8, 2017, Wednesday // 10:36
Bulgaria: Austria to Cooperate with Bulgaria, Others on Boosting Border Controls Hans-Peter Doskozil. File photo, EPA/BGNES

The so-called Balkan migrant route should be sealed off to a greater extent than it is now, Austrian Defense Minister Hans-Peter Doskozil has said.

"We don't believe the European external borders are being protected enough as of yet," Die Welt quotes him as saying in an interview.

Austria should work together with 15 countries along the Balkan route and among the Visegrad countries, she has said.

Countries involved should include Hungary, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania.

Doskozil has argued there is "intense activity" of smugglers who work with a "significant number" of migrants.
While just some 500 to 1000 migrants arrive in Austria on a weekly basis, the situation might deteriorate, he has estimated.

"Austria is ready to send in and out of the EU soldiers not only out of humanitarian grounds as until now, but also to offer protection of their borders."

Earlier, Doskozil had said he Austria could not comply with assistance requests coming from Bulgaria as the two countries had not gone far enough bilaterally.

But Roland Hauser, Vienna's Ambassador to Sofia, told Novinite the restriction had come from constitutional provisions barring Austria from sending soldiers abroad without a UN or EU mandate. The respective text has since then been changed, he added.

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Tags: Hans-Peter Doskozil, Austria, Bulgaria
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