Austria and its neighbors in central Europe and the Balkans will press the European Union to create a new auxiliary force to help countries deal with any influx of migrants, Austria’s defense minister said Friday.
Austria has suggested setting up a “bridging mission” that would help EU border agency Frontex process and deport migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey until Frontex is fully staffed there, which Vienna has said could take months.
Meeting defense and other officials from the region in Vienna Thursday, Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil said those present backed a modified version of that concept, which could be sent to Greece or elsewhere.
“It is … a mixed civil-police-military mission that should be deployed where necessary,” Doskozil said, adding the aim was to help secure the European Union’s external borders and deport migrants not entitled to stay in the bloc.
Austria has broken ranks with its neighbor Germany on how to deal with Europe’s migration crisis, coordinating a cascade of border restrictions through the Balkans that have left tens of thousands of migrants stuck in Greece.