Austrian president worries about controls at border with Italy

Impeding border traffic between Austria and Italy by imposing border controls would run counter to Austria's interests, outgoing president Heinz Fischer said Thursday in Vienna.

The Austrian head of state's comments came as a rebuke to the government, which is preparing to introduce rigorous checks at the Brenner Pass, a mountain pass at the border that straddles one of Europe's busiest road cargo routes.

"This artery must be looked after with special care," Fischer said, without ruling out that Austria would have to introduce some kind of controls.

Italian politicians and freighters are worried about the negative economic effects that an inspection regime could have at the Brenner, and they have asked the European Commission in Brussels to issue a legal opinion on Vienna's plans.

Fischer made his comments as he swore in Wolfgang Sobotka of the centre-right People's Party as new interior minister.

Sobotka succeeds Johanna Mikl-Leitner, who had been a main driver of increasingly restrictive border and asylum policies, and of Austria's efforts to close down the Balkan migration route.

Sobotka, who left regional politics to become minister, is expected to continue Mikl-Leitner's course.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

More from Europe

Turkish authorities capture main suspect in Istanbul nightclub attack

Turkish police Monday captured the man believed to be responsible for the New Year's Eve attack in an Istanbul...

Berlin official resigns after scandal over cover-up of Stasi past

A Berlin official who spent five months working for the East German secret police announced his resignation on...

Hollande to Trump: Europe doesn't need "outside advice"

French President Francois Hollande rejected remarks by US president-elect Donald Trump on the future of the European...

Merkel warns against speedy Brexit talks ahead of May's speech

German Chancellor Angela Merkel played down expectations on Monday of a rapid round of negotiations aimed at ending...

Merkel fires back at Trump, says Europe will choose its own 'destiny'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday fired back at US president-elect Donald Trump's denunciation of her...