Austria has unveiled plans to build a massive 100km fence along its border to stop migrants and refugees crossing into the country.
Austria has repeatedly clashed with Brussels over its clampdown on illegal migration and has already put a daily cap on the number of people who can claim asylum.
The new border fence will mark a considerable escalation in Austria’s physical attempts to bring down migration, with the country only having constructed one small 4km fence along its border with Slovenia to date.
Austria is on the Balkan migration route to the ‘promised lands’ of Germany and Sweden, where most asylum seekers arriving in Europe want to settle and start a better life.
At one point last year the country was brought to its knees by thousands of people crossing its borders every day, but the numbers have tailed off significantly since the EU signed its migrant deal with Turkey.
Only between 20 and 30 migrants arrive in Austria from Hungary every day at the moment but, with the political chaos in Turkey and the possible collapse of the current agreement, the country has decided to take precautions.
It will be patrolled day and night by troops and police dog teams in the event of a state of emergency being declared, providing an impregnable barrier to the movement of large numbers of people northwards.
Neighbor Hungary is no stranger to border fences, having angered EU officials by building its own 175km fence along its border with Serbia last year when the migrant crisis was at its peak.
But relations between Hungary and Austria have been strained in recent months, with Vienna demanding that Budapest take back several thousand migrants under the Dublin agreement – a request which has so far been refused.
Hungary and Austria are two of a number of nations to have reintroduced border controls and checks in light of the migrant crisis.
Despite the EU demanding they now drop what are supposed to be emergency measures, Austria’s move to further secure its frontiers indicates Brussels will find it tough to return the continent to the status quo.