Austria may use force to ease any backlog of migrants if Germany no longer lets them enter via their shared border, but will work with its neighbour to expedite the flow, the Vienna government said yesterday.
Germany has re-imposed border controls and curbed rail traffic from Austria in an effort to slow an influx of migrants, thousands of whom arrive daily.
In contrast, Austria is largely letting migrants stream on to its soil from Hungary unhindered and shuttling them towards Germany.
Asked by a reporter what would happen if Germany "seals the border", Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said: "Then there will be a massive backlog here in Austria and therefore we quickly need a European answer.
"Otherwise, there will consequently be only two possibilities: either we carry on as until now, or there will be strict controls at the borders. But then we must presume that images of force will emerge, that the use of force will be necessary."
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has emphasised the importance of co-ordinating with Germany on the matter.
Austria would have to show Germany that it was taking in enough asylum-seekers of its own, he said.
"The impression must not arise in Germany that the Austrians are doing the same thing as the Hungarians, simply moving people on," Mr Faymann said yesterday.