Bavaria blasts Austria over migrants, demands Merkel act

AFP , Tuesday 27 Oct 2015

Migrant Crisis
Migrants queue as they wait to board a regional train at the main railway station in Munich, Germany September 13, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

Bavaria's state premier Tuesday blasted Austria for waving on thousands of migrants to Germany without informing local authorities and called on Chancellor Angela Merkel to intervene.

"Austria's behaviour is hurting our neighbourly relations. We cannot and should not deal with each other this way," Horst Seehofer told the Passauer Neue Presse in an interview.

Seehofer's region, which borders Austria, has been the main gateway for hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers arriving in Germany in recent months.

Bavarian authorities, which have already been struggling to cope with the record numbers, are now also accusing Vienna of failing to inform them when new arrivals are on their way.

They complain that the lack of coordination is leaving them scrambling at the last minute to find resources to welcome the new arrivals.

Late on Monday for instance, around 2,000 refugees crossed on foot into Bavaria, catching local authorities unaware, police said.

Police spokesman Frank Koller said Austria had informed them that nine buses carrying asylum seekers were on their way to Bavaria Tuesday, but from "unofficial sources, we learnt that there are in actual fact 22 buses on the way".

"The actual figures unfortunately sharply differ from Austria's reports," he said.

Bavaria's interior minister Joachim Herrmann also heaped criticism on Austrian authorities, accusing them of only seeking to push the refugees onto Germany as quickly as possible.

"That is irresponsible behaviour on the part of our Austrian colleagues," Herrmann told Bayerischer Rundfunk.

Seehofer said Merkel must have an urgent telephone conversation with Austria's Chancellor Werner Faymann.

The two leaders have in place a "policy of open borders," Seehofer said, adding: "The chancellor can and must end that."

Seehofer, who leads Merkel's conservative allies the CSU, has been among the most vocal politicians in calling into question the German leader's open door policy for those fleeing war and persecution.

Urging an end to the "policy of waving them through", Seehofer warned: "This cannot be only done next year, but must be carried out immediately."

"We will see after All Saints' Day (Sunday) if Berlin is ready to take over Bavaria's request to control and limit immigration," he said.

"If I see no results, then we have to consider what other options we have," he said.

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