Austria offers soldiers to help control migrants


ROME: Austria is offering to provide soldiers to the Balkans or North Africa to help control the flow of migrants into Europe.

Defense Minister Mario Kunasek and Interior Minister Herbert Kickl told reporters Tuesday that the troops could also be used along the European Union’s external borders through bilateral agreements for “assistance missions” or in support of Frontex, the European border security agency.

Several hundred soldiers currently assist Austrian police with controls at the borders to Slovenia, Hungary and Italy.

Kickl says they have been helping since 2016 because police forces were overstretched due to a lack of control of the EU’s external borders.

He says: “We want to do this differently.”

Germany’s top security official has presented his new plan on controlling and limiting migration to Germany.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Tuesday the main goals of the “migration master plan” include the quick deportation of people living in Germany whose asylum applications have been rejected, who already registered for asylum in another European country or who have a criminal record.

Seehofer, who has long pushed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to take a harder line against migrants, says the new plan also envisions placing all asylum seekers in centers to have their applications processed there.

The plans also foresees that asylum applicants who previously registered in another EU country will be taken directly back to where they first entered the EU — primarily Greece and Italy.