Austrian Chancellor Backs EU Border Agency Patrolling North African Waters to Stop Illegal Immigration

TOPSHOT - Migrants wait to be rescued by the Aquarius rescue ship run by non-governmental organisations (NGO) 'SOS Mediterranee' and 'Medecins Sans Frontieres' (Doctors Without Borders) in the Mediterranean Sea, 30 nautic miles from the Libyan coast, on August 2, 2017. Italy on August 2, 2017 began enforcing a controversial …
ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images

BERLIN (AP) — Austria’s chancellor says European border guards should be allowed to go to North Africa to prevent migrants from setting off across the Mediterranean Sea in rickety boats.

Austria will take over the European Union’s rotating presidency in July. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s governing coalition took office in December after a campaign in which both partners talked tough on migration.

Kurz told Sunday’s edition of German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that a new mandate for EU border protection agency Frontex should allow it “to act in third countries, with the permission of their governments, to end smugglers’ dirty business model and prevent smugglers’ boats setting off on the dangerous route across the Mediterranean.”

Each year, tens of thousands attempt to reach Europe in vessels that are mostly unfit for the open sea.

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