S&D Group president Gianni Pittella has criticised the Austrian government's decision to build a wall at the Brennero border with Italy.
S&D president Gianni Pittella said:
"We have reached a new level of absurdity in the refugee crisis with a country building a 'preventive' wall. The decision taken by the Austrian government to build a barrier at the Brennero Italian-Austrian border, to stop a possible new flow of migrants is completely unacceptable. Not only because it is clearly against the Schengen agreement on free movement of persons but also because it again demonstrates that national governments prefer to lock themselves in a national fortresses rather than look for a comprehensive and effective European solution. From Austria this is a useless and negative blow to Europe."
Joe Weidenholzer, S&D vice-president, added:
"Walls in Austria, or any other European country, are surely not the solution. New borders are not only inhumane but in many cases leading to pain and suffering. They are a huge step back in everything we have achieved in Europe today. Schengen and the free movement of persons is the greatest achievement of the European project and we should fight to protect it".