Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said today "the fight against illegal immigration" would be the priority when his country takes over the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union on July 1.
The presidency, which rotates between different EU member states, will give Austria the opportunity to chair meetings and set agendas as the bloc grapples with the continuing migrant influx, management of its borders, and other issues such as Brexit.
"That means we need to have a clear focus on securing the external borders (of the EU)".
Kurz, whose conservative People's Party is in coalition with the far-right Freedom Party, said an EU summit in Salzburg in September would focus on "the subjects of security, border protection and the fight against illegal migration".
He has also called for the EU's border force Frontex to be given more powers to reduce migrant arrivals.
But she is facing a rebellion from her hardline Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who has demanded that German border police be given the right to turn back migrants who don't have identity papers or who are already registered elsewhere in the European Union.
Merkel fears that such a move would be seen in the EU as Germany going it alone and hurt over-burdened frontline Mediterranean countries such as Italy and Greece, and has urged a negotiated EU response instead.
Yesterday, she called immigration "a litmus test for the future of Europe".
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)