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Austria to build fence on Slovenia border

Austria has announced plans to erect a 3.7-kilometer (2.3-mile) metal fence along its border with Slovenia. Vienna has said the measure aims to better manage the influx of migrants and refugees.

The announcement on Friday came just two days after Slovenia began similar measures on its border with Croatia.

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann's chief of staff, Josef Ostermayer, said barbed wire would also be stored nearby, ready to install if necessary.

"We are talking here about an ordered inflow and not a barrier," Ostermayer told reporters.

Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said the fence would be 2.2 meters high.

Transit pressures

Austria has become a major transit route for hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees in recent months. Despite most of the migrants continuing their journey onto northern Europe, Austria still expects a record 95,000 asylum claims this year, making it one of the highest recipients on a per capita basis.

Amid growing support for the far-right Freedom Party - which is currently leading in Austria's opinion polls - Faymann's government has come under growing pressure to stem the flow.

Earlier this month, the Freedom Party sued three top Austrian officials - namely Faymann, Mikl-Leitner and Defense Minister Gerald Klug - for "failing to protect the country's borders" against the influx of migrants. The right-wing party also filed a lawsuit against rail officials on the charge of "human trafficking" for helping refugees travel from Austria's eastern border to Germany.

ksb/rc (Reuters, AFP)

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