Austrian policemen check vehicles in search for illegal migrants, border.jpg
Austrian policemen check vehicles in search for illegal migrants on the Austrian side of the Hungarian-Austrian border near Nickelsdorf, 70 kms southeast of Vienna, Austria, 25 April 2016.
Photograph: EPA/SZLIARD KOSZTICSAK HUNGARY OUT

Construction work has been completed on the Austrian side of the Brenner pass border crossing with Italy in case checks need to be reinstated, an Austrian police official announced on Friday.

"Should checks be ordered, we can now put this infrastructure into use," said regional police director Helmut Tomac.

The new additions include a roof to protect officers from the elements while they search vehicles for people attempting to cross the border illegally, as well as fence post anchors. The anchors would allow officials to erect a fence spanning 370 metres within two days of an Interior Ministry order to start up border patrols.

According to police, about 30 people a day are seized at this key transit point that has caused months of tension between the two EU nations.

The European Commission had joined Italy in expressing concerns over Austria's plans to introduce controls at Brenner in case of a sudden jump in migrant flows.

They fear such a move could further erode Europe's borderless Schengen zone, which has been tested by the arrival last year of more than 1 million migrants and asylum seekers.

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