April 27, 2016 / 2:00 PM / 3 years ago

Italian PM Renzi says Austrian border plans are shameless

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi delivers his remarks during the signing ceremony on climate change held at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York, U.S., April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Wednesday denounced plans by Austria to curb migrant flows by tightening border controls at the Alpine Brenner Pass between the two countries.

The Austria plan was “shamelessly against European rules, as well as being against history, against logic and against the future,” Renzi said in a statement posted on his website.

He cited figures showing that the number of migrants reaching Italy via the Mediterranean this year were no higher than in 2015 and 2014, and argued that this showed alarm over immigration was “exaggerated”.

Austria is considering building a 400-metre border fence at the Brenner crossing, the police chief for the province of Tyrol said on Wednesday, according to the Tiroler Tageszeitung newspaper.

Reporting by Gavin Jones, Editing by Crispian Balmer

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