Germany admits turning away more migrants at Austrian border

AFP , Tuesday 12 Jan 2016

Migrants are led by German Federal Police to an emergency accommodation center after crossing the Austrian-German border near Wegscheid, Germany, Tuesday Oct. 27, 2015 (Photo: AP)

Germany Tuesday admitted that it was refusing entry to an increasing number of migrants seeking to cross over from Austria, but said it was not a result of any policy changes.

"It is true that the number is higher in the past days," said a federal police spokesman, adding however that the number of people turned away at the border was in the "high double-digits to low triple-digits and therefore still within daily fluctuations".

"There have not been any changes policy-wise," he added.

The spokesman explained that migrants seeking entry are asked for their travel documents and those without papers are asked if they intended to make asylum applications in Germany.

Those seeking to travel on to Sweden for instance, or who have already filed for asylum in Austria would not be granted entry.

Migrants entering Germany with the intention of finding employment without prior permits are also turned away, he added.

The number of refused entries is still dwarfed by that of those allowed to enter Germany, with police saying that daily figures ranged from 290 to 3,050 in the first few days of January.

Austrian authorities had said Monday that Germany was now turning away 200 migrants daily since the start of the year, from around 60 in December.

Those refused entry are mostly Afghans as well as Moroccans and Algerians who did not want to apply for asylum in Germany but in other countries, notably Scandinavia.

Austria is a major transit country for the hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees seeking to enter the European Union, mostly via Upper Austria state at a rate currently of 1,000-2,000 per day.

Last week, Sweden, a favoured destination for many of the migrants, sought to stem the flow by imposing controls on travellers from Denmark.
Denmark in turn introduced spot checks on arrivals from Germany.

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