Exhausted refugees arrive in Austria

Refugees line-up to board trains at the railway station in Nickelsdorf, Austria after th Hungarian that gave up trying to hold them back

Thousands of exhausted migrants streamed into Austria on Saturday, bussed to the border by a Hungarian government that gave up trying to stop them as Europe’s asylum system buckled under pressure from the sheer numbers reaching its frontiers.

Long lines of buses packed with migrants arrived at the Austrian border from Hungary in the early hours of Saturday morning, after Vienna announced an agreement with Berlin to let them in amid an “emergency situation”.

Bavarian state police said they expected the first refugees to arrive in Germany around midday, with national rail operator Deutsche Bahn saying a special train with 500 refugees aboard was due to reach Munich around lunchtime.

Late on Friday buses picked up thousands of migrants camped in front of Budapest’s main Keleti railway terminus, and another 1,200 who had been walking down the main highway to Vienna on the so-called “march of hope” to western Europe.

Speaking at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, Peter Szijjarto, Hungary’s foreign affairs minister, said it decided to provide buses after the migrants refused to co-operate with authorities.

“They started to march on the most important highway in the country and the most important railway line of the country. An emergency situation has occurred. That is why we have decided to send buses and deliver them to the Austrian border, to where they wanted to go,” he said.

“What has been happening in Hungary since last night is a consequence of two things. Firstly a failed migration policy of the European Union. And the second one is the series of irresponsible statements made by European politicians,” he added.

Hungary has been critical of Austria, which on Friday said the migrants would be granted entry, regardless of EU rules.

“The number one priority is the effective protection and effective defence of the borders,” Mr Szijjarto said.

Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s foreign affairs minister, said Europe could not afford to wait and hope the arrival of winter would end the crisis.

“Even if, thank God, we could solve the problem in a humanitarian way yesterday, I hope Europe will open its eyes . . . I hope the situation will wake up European leaders because things can’t continue like this.”

“Those who think it is sufficient to wait to solve the problem are wrong. Those who think winter will solve the problem . . . are probably right concerning the Mediterranean route but not the Balkan route.”

Source:: ft.com

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