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Austria and Germany call for coordination on refugee initiatives

Austrian Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil and his German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen have reiterated the need to coordinate refugee initiatives EU-wide. There was no public mention of the Brenner Pass.

At a meeting in Vienna Monday, von der Leyen said it was important to secure the EU's external borders in the ongoing refugee crisis.

"If we search for solutions together in the EU we will succeed, step by step," the Christian Democratic (CDU) minister said, adding that this was "the only way to curb the illegal routes and arrive at orderly migration."

The two ministers also agreed on closer military cooperation.

However, Von der Leyen did not comment on Austrian plans to introduce border controls at the Brenner Pass with Italy. "We must listen to what help Italy needs," she said.

Doskozil said he was "optimistic, that we will not have a second year, like we experienced in 2015."

Austria's Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said last week that Austria could seal the Brenner Pass to avoid being "overrun" by refugees. Germany has objected to the plan.

Austria and Germany said Saturday they were in talks with the EU's executive body to extend temporary border controls brought in last year to help stem the migrant flow.
The measures - triggered in case of "a serious threat to public policy or internal security" - expire May 12.

jhb/jm (dpa, AFP)

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