Merkel's Deputy Says Austrian Border Plan Is Warning to Europe

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said Austria’s plan to limit its influx of refugees is a warning to other European countries to help by accepting more themselves.

“It’s a cry for help to make it clear that Austria, Sweden and Germany can’t master the refugee crisis alone,” Gabriel told reporters in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday before attending the World Economic Forum.

Gabriel laid out German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s stance that the solutions for solving Europe’s refugee crisis lie in better policing at the European Union’s outer borders, cooperation with Turkey and diplomacy to end Syria’s civil war. While voicing sympathy for Austria’s policy shift, Gabriel warned that “closing borders everywhere in Europe would be an economic disaster.”

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, whose country is on the so-called Balkan route for refugees heading to northern Europe, criticized Greece for failing to secure its borders against refugees arriving across the Aegean Sea from Turkey and said Europe needs to find “comprehensive and decisive” solution that includes Syria.

“You can’t protect Greek borders,” said Vucic, who was on a Davos panel with Gabriel. “We all know that and we all know that nobody knows what we’re going to do on that.”

Serbian authorities expect the refugee influx to surge to 5,000 a day in March, compared with a daily average of 1,818 in December, Vucic said.

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