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Austria says 'illegal immigration fight' will be EU focus

AFP  |  Vienna 

Austrian said today "the fight against illegal immigration" would be the priority when his country takes over the six-month rotating presidency of the on July 1.

The presidency, which rotates between different EU member states, will give the opportunity to meetings and set agendas as the bloc grapples with the continuing migrant influx, management of its borders, and other issues such as Brexit.

"Security and stability in cannot be taken for granted," said Kurz, detailing the priorities of the Austrian presidency to parliament in today.

"That means we need to have a clear focus on securing the external borders (of the EU)".

Kurz, whose conservative 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 to be given more powers to reduce migrant arrivals.

The announcement comes after said on Wednesday that interior ministers in Vienna, and had formed an "axis of the willing" to combat

German has called for solidarity among EU member states and a bloc-wide agreement in dealing with immigration issues.

But she is facing a rebellion from her 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

Merkel fears that such a move would be seen in the EU as going it alone and hurt over-burdened frontline countries such as 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.)

First Published: Thu, June 14 2018. 22:35 IST