On Tuesday, the Austrian Kronen Zeitung newspaper reported, citing the country’s Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil, that Austria was planning to strengthen its control on the border with Italy amid expectations of the next wave of migrants arriving in the country, deploying servicemen and armored personnel carriers at the border. The following day, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, in a joint statement with Doskozil explained that these measures would only be implemented if the situation with the refugees’ influx worsened.
"Each nation has the right to defend its coasts and borders. Unfortunately, Italy does not, and so we are invaded by thousands of migrants. So Austria is doing well, ready to defend its borders, and Italy should follow Austria’s example and do the same," Ferrari said.
The Lega Nord member stressed that measures planned to be taken by the Austrian authorities in case of a new wave of migrants arriving in the country were absolutely practical.
"Austria's measures are well-founded. Every day, thousands of migrants land in Italy," Ferrari explained.
Obermayr added that even if Austria strengthened border controls, the bilateral relations with Italy were unlikely to be seriously affected by the measures.
In June, media reported that Italy was considering shutting its sea ports to foreign ships, because many of the vessels pick up migrants they find at sea, delivering them to Italian soil.
According to the latest data of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over 101,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Europe by sea in the first six months of 2017, with over 85,000 of them arriving in Italy.