Austria’s military intelligence service has warned that the number of migrants entering the country could increase to 500,000 by this summer, according to a secret report obtained by media.
The Heeresnachrichtenamt says that migrants could enter Austria through new routes as the Balkan countries close their borders. Hundreds of thousands of migrants could become stranded in Austria as Germany and other northern European countries, in turn, tighten their borders.
The report says the desolate situation of people fleeing wars in the Middle East is to blame for massive waves of migration.
Austria has taken 100,000 migrants in 2015, but the intelligence service report says that the country with just 8 million people cannot cope with 500,000 more migrants in 2016.
Austria has started to deploy massive numbers of army and police to protect key crossing points along its entire southern border.
Armoured vehicles are to be used.
In a separate development, Bavaria is preparing to close its borders. Police chiefs in Bavaria are taking steps to be able to shut the border in hours if large numbers of migrants continue to seek entry.