Austria has pledged to maintain its border controls and an upper limit on refugees “indefinitely,” die Welt reported Friday.
“As long as the European Union is not in a position to protect its external borders, Austria will rely on national measures,” Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said during a press conference.
“It’s essential to our own security to know who is coming here,” he added. “Under no circumstances can I take any risks.”
Germany has said it would keep up controls on its border with Austria, in a move that goes against the Commission’s push to restore freedom of movement within the Schenghen zone by February, after member countries instated patrols along the borders during the height of the refugee crisis.
“The return to Schenghen would only be justifiable once there is a European solution to the problem of external borders,” Sobotka said, adding that a February deadline was unrealistic.
The interior minister also said Austria would stick by its refugee quota, and that it would shelter those in need but turn away economic migrants. Last year, Austria drew the limit at 37,500 refugees.
He also urged for better cooperation among EU member countries, citing “thousands” of migrants who had slipped through administrative gaps in previous years and could pose a terror threat on the Continent.