Austria has started building a razor wire border fence along its frontier with Slovenia despite Chancellor Werner Faymann’s previous statements opposing such barriers. In a major policy U-turn for the Austrian government, police worked overnight Wednesday to secure major border crossings with the new works.
According to a report in the Kleine Zeitung newspaper, the sheer numbers of migrants trying to enter Austria as they transit the country on the way to Germany has seen the frontier overwhelmed. A police spokesman said that “the embankment was secured with help from rolls of barbed wire.”
Previously Mr.Faymann had criticised neighbouring Hungary’s fences and compared them to Nazism, but now he believes that Austria’s own “technical measures” would be different.
“This is not about a border barrier of several kilometres,” he said. “We are not fencing Austria in.”
Interior minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner also weighed in to defend the measures, saying in an interview on Germany’s ARD TV that “a fence is not a bad thing. Anyone who has a house, has a garden and a fence.”
She explained that a “garden fence” was necessary to decide who was allowed to come in, and who would be kept out.
Ms Mikl-Leitner has even spoken of her distaste for the word “fence”, telling journalists: “If it is possible to avoid the word ‘fence’ from a technical point of view, then that’s fine by me.”
German politician Hans-Peter Friedrich supported Mikl-Leitner’s analogy, saying “I don’t know why there is this demonization of fences. Many people have fences around their gardens.
“The crucial thing is that there is also a garden gate, where you can allow people to come in.”
As Breitbart London has reported, fences between European Union (EU) countries are fast becoming the new normal with Hungary leading the way in sealing itself off from Serbia.
The physical barriers have been so successful in Hungary’s case that it has seen the number of migrants entering the country going from 6,353 to 29 a day in just a week.
Meanwhile, on Monday afternoon a soldier from the Austrian 23rd Battalion of Vorarlberg was attacked with a fence post by a refugee while patrolling the border with Slovenia. He suffered cuts to his face and hand, and was treated at a nearby hospital.
The mayor of Graz, Siegfried Nagl of the centre-right People’s Party, suggested that refugees should be welcome despite such violence, but only if they are with women or children.
“For [families of women and children] we have a place, but the [single] men who want to come for help, we must make it clear to them that here, there is no capacity.”