Austria, which had placed a daily cap on the number of refugees allowed into the country, reportedly announced Friday that it would have to introduce even stricter limits in the future, despite warnings from EU leaders that such measures do not comply with the bloc's legislation.
On Wednesday, Austria said it would allow a daily quota of 3,200 refugees to cross the border and 80 asylum claims, a measure that was reportedly seen as undermining German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “open door” policy for refugees and the EU’s quest to seek a solution for the crisis along with Turkey.
"We must apply the brakes step by step," Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner reportedly said Wednesday. The country is being supported by Slovenia, which plans similar steps.
On Friday, Mikl-Leitner told reporters at EU’s Brussels summit that the country may reduce the daily quota further.
"I am very happy with our decision and we will stick to it," Mikl-Leitner said as she arrived at Friday’s conference. "We will have to reduce these upper limits further."
Austria — the last stop on the way to Germany for thousands of refugees — has become a major transit route for refugees seeking to claim asylum in Germany.
With the refugee influx expected to increase in coming months as weather conditions improve, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker expressed exasperation at the move, and reportedly said that the cap on asylum claims would break EU and international humanitarian laws.