ROME, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday warned against a further closure of internal borders within the European Union (EU)  as a response to the migration crisis.

After holding talks in Rome, both leaders expressed opposition to Austria's plan to build a fence at its Brenner Pass border with Italy.

"We (as Italians) have expressed our clear opposition to, and in some ways our shock for, some positions our Austrian friends have been taken (on the Brenner Pass)," Renzi said at a join press conference after the meeting.

"Such positions are wrong and anachronistic, and are not justified because this is not an emergency situation," the Italian PM added.

Some 26,000 migrants and refugees have reached Italy so far, which meant more or less the same number of arrivals registered in 2015, and less than in 2014, Renzi stressed.

"We cannot fail each other (as EU member states), and we must not close borders that are not external of the European Union," Merkel told the press conference.

When asked over the possible closure of the Brenner Pass by Austria, Merkel added that "I will do my best to avoid it, as much as I had strongly criticized the closure of the Macedonia-Greece border in the previous months."

The German Chancellor strongly appealed to all EU leaders to protect the block's external borders, but those only.

"The EU external borders stretch from the Mediterranean to the North Pole," she declared.

"Either we are all together able to protect them, or we are going to fall back into nationalism, and lose our freedom of movement for people and business."

The external border defense, combined with a burden-sharing approach to the refugee crisis, would represent "a challenge for the future of Europe," she said.

Renzi and Merkel also discussed a dossier called "Migration Compact," which Italy recently submitted to its EU partners.

In the dossier, Italy suggested the EU should offer financial aid to African countries in order to help them step up border controls and curb the flows of migrants and refugees across the Mediterranean towards Europe.