Vienna had threatened to re-impose controls on the Brenner Pass in the Alps as part of a string of anti-migrant measures if Italy failed to reduce the number of new arrivals heading to Austria. “The number of illegal migrants has dropped to almost zero in the past weeks”, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka told a joint press conference with his Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano at the pass. “That’s why it is not necessary to carry out border controls at the Brenner Pass for now”, said Sobotka. He added that reinforced train controls by Italian, Austrian and German officials had helped slow the influx to a trickle.
“The number of illegal migrants has dropped to almost zero in the past weeks”, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka told a joint press conference. Angelino Alfano said he was ‘happy’ that Austria had recognized Italian efforts to address the issue. He also said that 110 extra guards would patrol the Alpine crossing point between the two countries.
The historic Alpine route is a major European transport corridor with some 5500 lorries passing through on a daily basis. This is a crucial lifeline for Italy’s exports to northern Europe that is already prone to delays even without border checks. But Vienna has been concerned that it could also become a new route for migrants and refugees following the closure of the Balkan trail leading from Greece towards western and northern Europe.