Austria is working with like-minded EU countries to set up migrant reception centres outside of the bloc, saying that shelters should provide protection and not a better life in Europe.
Speaking to public broadcaster ORF, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said: “efforts are underway to create protection centers outside of Europe where we can accommodate refugees, offer protection but not a better life in Central Europe.”
“This is a project we are working with a small number of states in a very confidential way… to increase the feasibility,” he added.
Kurz is believed to be working with his Danish counterpart, Lars Lokke Rasmusen, who said last week he was discussing the possibility of setting up “common centres” for migrants outside of Europe.
Later this month, Austria will practice shutting down its border entirely, sending around 1,000 officers to take part in the exercise.
Interior Minister Herbert Kickl said the country must “be prepared for the case that in a sudden large migratory flow, [because] border protection measures in friendly countries no longer help.”
Kickl said the exercise is designed to show “that we are serious.”
“There will be no registration and waving through with us, but a real defensive attitude.
“Our policemen will be standing so close to the Slovenian border that any application for asylum there will be a case for the Slovenians.”
Franz Lang, the head of the Federal Criminal Police Office, said the drill was needed, as “currently about 80,000 people want to travel to Western and Central Europe.”
Lang described the situation in Albania and Bosnia as “critical” as illegal migration increased by up to 110% around the country.
He refers to the new migratory paths as the “mosque route”, a reference to mosques along the route who offer support to migrants wanting to reach central and western Europe.
“On this ‘mosque route’,” he says, “the police force mainly sees male young loners, many of whom are considered ‘terrorist fighters.”
The country’s new specialist “Puma” border guards, along with riot police and the Army will train together later in the month.