Something is happening on the Brenner Pass border as Austria tries to stem the expected flow of migrants from Italy – but exactly what and when is not clear.
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CONFUSION ABOUT BRENNER PASS BORDER CONTROLS
Border building underway to prevent migrants crossing from Italy. Big delays expected.
Tirol police has denied press reports they are building a 250 metre fence across the motorway and the B182 pass road, but they admit foundations are being laid for a new building to monitor traffic in all weathers.
Austrian president Heinz Fischer said on Monday that the Brenner Pass barrier will not include a wall or barbed wire according to ANSA.it.
But Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil said today the arrangement would be similar to Spielfeld – on the border with Slovenia – where there is a fence, according to Euractiv.
It is also unclear when border controls will start. Building work is due to finish at the end of May with checks widely reported to start on Wednesday 1 June.
The Austrian authorities are concerned that, with the recent closure of the so-called Balkan Route, migrants will cross to Italy instead and hence up into Germany via the Brenner Pass and Austria.
While there is little sign of migrants at Brenner yet, arrivals in Italy from Libya so far this year have doubled to 24,000.
Meanwhile the Italian coastguard has rescued 4000 migrants in the Strait of Sicily in the past two days amid reports of an ‘alarming‘ build up of migrants in Libya.
With 2.1 million trucks alone using the Brenner motorway each year there is clear potential for long delays. There are already suggestions drivers’ hours rules may have to be suspended to keep traffic flowing.
roundup: SLOVENIA. It may be only a 20km stretch, but the single lane road from Drazenci down to the Croatian border at Gruskovje is a notorious bottleneck, particularly in the summer. It lies on the direct route between Graz in eastern Austria and the Adriatic Sea resorts via Maribor and Zagreb. A pending upgrade to four lanes received a €140 million loan from the European Investment Bank last May. Now the EU adds another €63.5 million from the ESIF European Structural & Investment Fund, it was announced last week, to fully finance the €204 million project up to 2020. Meanwhile, much of the A2 on to Zagreb is four lane except for two tunnel sections to the north of Krapina. FRANCE. The President of the Ile de France Paris region wants to revive the Ecotaxe toll system for transit trucks. Valerie Pecresse says the charge would raise from €100-200 million each year according to Les Echos. However, the FNTR haulage association calls the toll ‘exorbitant’ saying transit vehicles represent just 6 percent of traffic and that a charge of €4.50 per kilometre would be needed to reach even the low revenue estimate. There have been several attempts to revive Ecotaxe on a regional basis since the national scheme was cancelled in 2014, so far without success.