Friday 20 January 2017

Italy tightens border controls after Germany asks for help with migrants

Antonella Cinelli, Gavin Jones and Isla Binnie

Published 02/09/2015 | 14:38

A group of migrants crosses the border walking on the railway track from Serbia into Hungary Credit: AP Photo
A group of migrants crosses the border walking on the railway track from Serbia into Hungary Credit: AP Photo

Italy has agreed to tighten border controls and house hundreds of migrants after Germany asked for help dealing with record numbers of arrivals.

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An official from the German region of Bavaria has asked for Italy's help in dealing with rising numbers of migrants, Italy's northern border province of Bolzano said on Wednesday.

The central government in Rome has offered to use the same border checks as were imposed temporarily during a Group of Seven meeting in Germany in June, the province of Bolzano said on its website.

An Italian foreign ministry spokesman said the Schengen code, under which people can usually cross borders without checks in most of the European Union, had not been suspended.

"There is just a general increase in the number of checks we carry out on those passing the border, which has been agreed by the frontier authorities," he said.

The province of Bolzano also said it would temporarily house up to 400 migrants who are trying to make their way across the border from Italy to Northern Europe.

A senior member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc on Wednesday welcomed the introduction of temporary border controls between Italy and Austria, saying it followed a request from the southern German state of Bavaria.

"I do not think Schengen is over," Stephan Mayer, a conservative expert on interior affairs, said of the code which removes border controls between most European states.

"But I certainly see the danger that if it is not possible in the long run to apply European asylum rules, that this directly erodes and endangers Schengen," he told reporters in Berlin.

Reuters

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