Austria seeks talks with Balkan neighbors after capping migrant flow

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 21, 2016 8:20 AM

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian leaders have invited Balkan states to a meeting on migration in Vienna on Wednesday following the country's move to limit asylum applicants to 80 per day.

Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner and Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz sent invitations to Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia, Mikl-Leiter's office said in a statement on Sunday.

The meeting, to include Defence Minister Peter Doskozil, is planned in advance of a separate European Union conference of interior ministers, planned for Thursday, she said.

From Friday, Austria began limiting the number of migrants it lets in daily at 3,200.

Though Austria's move has angered European Union leaders in Brussels, Mikl-Leitner is pledging her country will introduce even stricter controls.

The EU's migration chief has said the cap on asylum claims would break EU as well as international law.

The pace of migrant arrivals in Austria has slowed since 15,700 arrived from Hungary on a single day at the height of the migration crisis in September, but it is expected to accelerate this spring when weather improves and more people fleeing war, violence and poverty in Syria and the Middle East head northwards.

(Reporting by John Miller in Zurich and Francois Murphy in Vienna; editing by Susan Thomas)