Austria plans fence to stop migrants at major border crossing with Italy

VIENNA Austria outlined plans on Wednesday to erect a fence at a border crossing with Italy that is a vital link between northern and southern Europe, escalating a stand-off between the two states over how to handle a migration crisis.

Migrants are crossing the Mediterranean from Africa to Italy in growing numbers and Austria has said Rome must stop them traveling onwards towards northern Europe or it will have to introduce border controls at the Brenner Pass in the Alps.

But with Austrian preparations for controls already under way, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Austria’s move was “shamelessly against European rules, as well as being against history, against logic and against the future”.

Austrian police in the Alpine province of Tyrol, which borders on northern Italy, presented plans for the installation of facilities at Brenner to inspect vehicles and process migrants, in the event formal controls are introduced.

Building work on some of the facilities at Brenner began two weeks ago but their scale was not immediately known.

“A security fence of 370 meters (1,220 feet) is planned,” a Tyrol police spokesman said, adding that the fence was part of a system

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