Posted on November 13, 2015

Austria to Build Fence on Slovenia Border in New Blow to Schengen Pact

Nina Lamparski, Yahoo! News, November 13, 2015

Austria announced Friday it would erect a metal fence along its border with Slovenia, in a new blow to the’s cherished open-border accord.

The 3.7-kilometre (2.3-mile) barrier, due to be completed in less than six weeks, will be the first fence between two members of the passport-free zone, as Europe grapples with a record influx of migrants.

Barbed wire would be stored in nearby containers ready to be rolled out along the frontier if the situation escalated, officials said.

Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner insisted the “fence conforms to the Schengen accord”, adding it was part of temporary measures aimed at “channelling” the human flow.

The move came a day after European Union President Donald Tusk warned that Schengen–one of the bloc’s most important achievements–was on the brink of collapse because of fallout from the migration crisis.

Austria’s decision is the latest in a series of tough measures taken by countries to tackle the continent’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.

Germany, which expects up to one million arrivals this year, said on Friday it would extend temporary border controls implemented in September until mid-February.

Earlier this week, Sweden also reinstated temporary checks, while Slovenia rolled out razor wire along its frontier with non-Schengen member Croatia.

Denmark on Friday also unveiled tough new measures to deter refugees including a three-year wait for some family reunion claims and a plan to house people in tents.

Fellow bloc member Hungary already sealed its southern border with razor wire last month, diverting the influx toward Slovenia.