After Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) promised extraordinary border controls with Italy, taking into account the situation in Lampedusa, a stricter control network is being implemented on the Tyrolean Brenner border. This includes random checks on the Brenner motorway (A13). A local inspection revealed on Thursday that the state of emergency is still far away, but control is increasingly in the air.
“Random police checks” – that seems to be the “migration motto” in the Brenner Pass at the moment. For example, from Thursday morning, the police checked vehicles at the Schönberg toll gate for 24 hours. “The migration situation is still manageable,” Tyrol state police director Helmut Tomac hastened to restrict during a local inspection followed by the media and explained that there was also greater emphasis on train controls and covert searches in the countryside. .
However, the situation in Italy is currently “worrying”, admitted Tomac. In the neighboring country to the south we are dealing with “around 120 thousand landings”. This still has no real impact on illegal migration in Austria or Tyrol: “In Austria we are currently talking about 1,500 to 2,000 arrests per week, in Tyrol it is 80 to 140 per week.” The routes chosen also tended not to pass through the Brenner Pass: “This route is well monitored and therefore little used.”
But we are preparing “for different scenarios”. “We have known since 2015 that things can be completely different from one day to the next”, emphasized the director of the State Police. With this in mind, he wanted 24-hour toll control to be understood: “We are checking in several locations, both on the highway and on the federal highway, as a possible alternative route.” There were about six arrests on Tuesday.
“Tatort Brennerroute”, Thursday evening. At 7:30 p.m., darkness fell and there were no arrests. The procedure used to check vehicles and their occupants always followed the same standard. Two police officers pointed the vehicles towards the location where the inspection took place with a red traffic light and pointing fingers. Vehicle documents, passports and driving licenses were requested in several languages, often in Italian. Trucks were excluded from controls.
Of the vehicles inspected, i.e. cars, small trucks and vans, the density of the latter was particularly high. Numerous chests were opened, numerous short conversations were held about their contents, and much persuasion was made about the necessity of the checks. “But most of them are understanding,” said one of the employees. Every now and then you just need to explain in more precision and detail what is happening and why.
Every now and then there would be arguments about why exactly this vehicle was marked and the other was not. “It could have been because of the expensive brand of the car,” one driver speculated humorously. Another highlighted that he was unable to open the trunk because he was carrying pharmaceutical products. The officer followed the advice, especially since the papers were unremarkable.
At the end of the (media) on-site inspection on Thursday, around 300 vehicles were checked. On Friday morning there will probably be dozens more. Now it is important to “show your presence,” emphasized Police Chief Tomac.