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Italy revives border checks

September 2, 2015

Italy has temporarily reinstated border patrols at the frontier with Austria. The move follows an appeal from the southern German state of Bavaria.

Flüchtlinge in Italien auf dem Weg nach Österreich Brenner Pass
Image: Getty Images/A. Koerner

Following a request from Germany to help stem the flow of refugees, Italy reimposed identification checks in its northern region of South Tyrol on Wednesday. The bilingual province on the border with Austria is the last stop in Italy for migrants who arrive in the country from northern Africa, hoping to travel on other nations in Europe.

The regional capital Bolzano said it was ready to "reactivate" controls along the Brenner Pass just as it did for the G7 summit in June, but that it was "a temporary measure to allow Bavaria to reorganize and face the emergency."

Bavaria registered around 2,500 new refugees on Tuesday, with a total of almost 4,300 new arrivals in the week so far.

South Tyrol also agreed to take in 300-400 migrants who had arrived in Munich "for a few days" to take some pressure off the southern German state, whose facilities are swamped by migrants arriving not only from the Middle East and Africa, but some Balkan nations as well.

Although Italy, Germany, and Austria belong to the Schengen Zone, which largely abolished border controls between signatory countries beginning in the 1990s, its provisions may be lifted in exceptional situations. When Rome suspended Schengen for the G7 in June, it caused serious overcrowding in South Tyrol as migrants were forced to postpone their journeys.

es/msh (AFP, dpa)