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EU: Austria’s Plan to Limit Daily Asylum Requests Unlawful

Refugees and migrants are seen walking behind a fence at the border between Slovenia and Austria at Spielfeld, Austria, Feb. 16, 2016.

The European Union's top migration official said that an Austrian plan to limit the daily number of asylum seekers is unlawful.

In a letter to the Austrian government Thursday, Dimitris Avramopoulos said that Austria has a legal obligation to accept any asylum application that is made on its territory or at its border.

Avramopoulos said that imposing a limit on asylum-seekers is not compatible with EU or international law.

Ahead of an EU summit in Brussels Thursday, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, reiterated his opposition to national border controls and criticized Austria's decision to set up new border crossing points and migrant and refugee quotas.

“I made it perfectly clear during the last month that as a commission, we don't like national border controls. I don't follow this general trend for having more and more national border controls. This is happening because we are lacking a European approach. So I will today, as always, advocate the European approach and as far as Austria is concerned, I have to say I don't like the decision," Juncker said.

Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner announced Wednesday a daily limit of 80 asylum requests at southern border crossing points with Slovenia and once it was reached, crossings would be temporarily closed to migrants.

Mikl-Leitner also said that effective Friday, a limit of 3,200 people a day seeking international protection would be allowed to enter Austria from a neighboring country.