Crowds cheer for refugees at train stations in Germany and Austria
Amnesty International decries conditions at Hungarian border
After absorbing more than 12,000 refugees, Austria wants to see a gradual reduction in the numbers of refugees coming through, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said.
“We have always said this is an emergency situation, which we have to handle quickly and humanely,” Faymann said Sunday. “We have helped more than 12,000 people in an acute situation. We must now step by step go from emergency measures to a normality that is humane and complies with the law.”
The United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR, estimates that 366,402 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe this year, with 2,800 dead or missing. Those who make the crossing face uncertain futures in European nations, which differ in their approach to asylum seekers.
Austria’s border with Hungary remains open to potential refugees, Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman Alexander Marakovits said Sunday, and packed buses and trains continued to arrive.
Despite the government’s desire to curb migrant flow, there has been an outpouring of support from Austrians. Many have brought food and water and cheered for the refugees pouring onto the platform at Vienna’s train station.
The Austrian Red Cross has also been on hand to provide medical supplies and warm blankets.
One recent arrival, standing with his two daughters, told CNN of the family’s difficult journey through Hungary.
“We went through a torture,” he said. “We walked 110 kilometers (68 miles) with the children. They didn’t allow us to take cars or trains.”
But the Hungarian people, he said, “were very nice. We arrived here safely, and we are comfortable here, and we like the people and the government of Austria.”
Most of the arrivals in Austria intend to travel farther into Europe, however. Of the thousands who have arrived there this weekend, only a dozen or so have opted to apply for asylum there, the country’s Interior Ministry said.
German patience tried
Germany is attractive to refugees because of its robust economy, strong democracy and long history of taking in refugees. But it, too, can’t keep taking in refugees at the current pace.
“The great helpfulness that Germany has shown in these last weeks and months should not be worn thin,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement Sunday.
It called for all European countries to work together and share responsibility.
“Only if that is guaranteed can …Read More