BERLIN - Germany Tuesday admitted that it was refusing entry to an increasing number of migrants seeking to cross over from Austria, but said it was not a result of any policy changes.

“It is true that the number is higher in the past days,” said a federal police spokesman, adding however that the number of people turned away at the border was in the “high double-digits to low triple-digits and therefore still within daily fluctuations”. “There have not been any changes policy-wise,” he added.

The spokesman explained that migrants seeking entry are asked for their travel documents and those without papers are asked if they intended to make asylum applications in Germany.

Those seeking to travel on to Sweden for instance, or who have already filed for asylum in Austria would not be granted entry.

Migrants entering Germany with the intention of finding employment without prior permits are also turned away, he added. The number of refused entries is still dwarfed by that of those allowed to enter Germany, with police saying that daily figures ranged from 290 to 3,050 in the first few days of January.

Austrian authorities had said Monday that Germany was now turning away 200 migrants daily since the start of the year, from around 60 in December.

Those refused entry are mostly Afghans as well as Moroccans and Algerians who did not want to apply for asylum in Germany but in other countries, notably Scandinavia. Austria is a major transit country for the hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees seeking to enter the European Union, mostly via Upper Austria state at a rate currently of 1,000-2,000 per day.

Last week, Sweden, a favoured destination for many of the migrants, sought to stem the flow by imposing controls on travellers from Denmark.

Denmark in turn introduced spot checks on arrivals from Germany.

Meanwhile, German police said Tuesday they have arrested 211 far-right extremists who went on a rampage on the sidelines of a xenophobic rally in Leipzig, setting cars on fire and smashing windows.

The extremists are known to police as football hooligans, and had wrought chaos Monday at an area of the eastern city known to be left-leaning, just as thousands of far-right supporters of the anti-migrant PEGIDA movement were gathering at a peaceful demonstration, authorities said.

Europe must choose between its Schengen open borders and its Dublin rules on asylum procedures because the migrant crisis means the two are no longer compatible, Italy said Tuesday.

“The European Union (EU) has two possibilities: either it suffers the consequences of the migrant flow or it tries to control it,” Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said at a Rome seminar. “It (the EU) can control it if it acts in a united way and if it recognises that rules thought up a quarter of a century ago are no longer suitable for the flows we are seeing today.”

Italy wants a review of the Dublin convention’s clause which requires asylum-seekers coming into the EU to be processed in their country of arrival, a rule Rome regards as unsustainable given that most migrants arrive by crossing the Mediterranean to Italy or Greece from North Africa or Turkey.

Nearly 80,000 people applied for asylum in France in 2015, a rise of a fifth compared with a year earlier but far fewer than the 1.1 million requests in Germany, figures showed Tuesday.

Just under a third - 31.5 percent - of the 79,130 applications were successful, said Pascal Brice, the director general of the French agency for the protection of refugees. The highest number came from people from war-wracked Syria and from Sudan and Kosovo.

“We are seeing asylum requests going up from countries (where people have) a strong need for protection,” Brice told AFP.

Austria registered 90,000 asylum claims in 2015, government figures showed Tuesday, a rise of more than 200 percent compared to 28,000 the year before and just 11,000 in 2010.

Afghans topped the list of requests by nationality with 25,202 asylum claims closely followed by 25,064 fleeing the civil war in Syria and 13,258 Iraqis, the interior ministry data showed.

The number was however considerably under the record of 170,000 set in 1956 when the Soviet Union crushed an uprising in Budapest and large numbers of Hungarians fled to neighbouring Austria.