By Michael Birnbaum,
BRUSSELS — Waves of asylum-seekers fleeing conflict made their way across Europe on Monday, as leaders appeared surprised by the ever-accelerating numbers coming from a deep well of people displaced by war.
German authorities said they had taken in far more asylum-seekers than they had expected in a dramatic weekend after Hungary dropped attempts to bar their passage across Europe. Hundreds of migrants spent a shivering night on the border between Serbia and Hungary, after a brand-new reception camp there was filled over capacity. And in Greece, the refugees’ first port of call, authorities called for emergency E.U. assistance as islands received asylum-seekers faster than they could be ferried to the mainland.
There was no sign the crisis was easing, with a deep well of millions of refugees fueling a nearly endless supply of people making the risky voyage to Europe. Greece’s coast guard said it rescued more than 2,000 asylum-seekers in the Mediterranean Sea since Friday alone.
“We have a moving, in some ways breathtaking, weekend behind us,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Berlin on Monday. Authorities in Munich said they expected to take in 10,000 more people on Monday after a weekend in which 18,000 came by rail from Austria.
The German response “can make us proud,” Merkel said.
But there were fast-growing strains on authorities’ ability to take in the migrant flow, as Germany announced that it would reallocate $6.6 billion to fund the refugee intake next year. Germany authorities have said they expect 800,000 asylum-seekers this year alone.
“No society can handle something like this,” said Horst Seehofer, the leader of Merkel’s Christian Social Union allies at a party event on Sunday.
There were new details on Monday about an emerging E.U. plan to accommodate more refugees, but they appeared to fall far short of the need.
French President François Hollande said that his nation stood ready to take in 24,000 refugees under a European Commission plan that will be unveiled on Wednesday. That is less than Germany expects to receive in three days alone.
“France as a people has always been capable,” Hollande said at a news conference in Paris. “The French people do have legitimate causes for concern, which we need to allay. It’s not just a matter of welcoming people in any old way.& …Read More
Europe struggles to handle accelerating flow of refugees – Washington Post
By Michael Birnbaum,