Austria will reintroduce controls along its border with Italy unless the migrant flow through the area is drastically reduced, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz warned in an interview published Wednesday.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi last week insisted Italy was not facing an “invasion” after a spike in migrant boat crossings from Libya exacerbated fears it could become the main entry point into Europe.
But Kurz highlighted Austria’s deep concerns as Europe struggles to contain the worst migrant crisis the continent has known since World War II.
“Look at the figures. Austria received 90,000 migrants last year, close on one percent of the population – in terms of Italy’s population that would amount to more than 600,000 people,” Kurz told Italian daily Il Messaggero.
He noted that 154,000 migrants had arrived in Italy across 2015 but had “only” registered 83,000 asylum claims – a discrepancy of 71,000.