Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka (c) with Tyrol Governor Guenther Platter (l) and Tyrol police chief Helmut Tomac (r) during an inspection at the Brenner pass on the Italy-Austria border on Juky 17, 2017 | Credit:  ANSA/ Stefan Wallisch
Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka (c) with Tyrol Governor Guenther Platter (l) and Tyrol police chief Helmut Tomac (r) during an inspection at the Brenner pass on the Italy-Austria border on Juky 17, 2017 | Credit: ANSA/ Stefan Wallisch

Austria has opened a checkpoint on the Brenner railway in a bid to intercept migrants heading out of Italy into central Europe.

The Austrian authorities in partnership with Italy have long been checking trains traveling north, but the number of migrants being intercepted along the route is currently low.

Check-point decided after migrants crushed on trains

The latest incidents on the railway line date back to the end of 2016 when, unlike today, the trains were crowded with migrants. In November, a young Eritrean died in Bolzano while trying to climb onto a freight train heading to Austria. A few days later, two refugees hiding in a train on the so-called 'traveling motorway' were crushed and killed by a heavy goods lorry during unloading. Subsequently, Vienna announced that it would step up inspections along the railway. To avoid slowing international traffic during these controls a special platform has been built at Seehof station on the Austrian side of the border.

Check-point opened on eve of parliamentary elections

The check-point was opened by Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka, Tyrol governor Guenther Platter and Tyrol police chief Helmut Tomac on the eve of parliamentary elections in Austria, in which the issue of migration will once again play a central role.


 

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