Austria to end emergency measures for refugees

Emergency measures taken by Austria, which allowed thousands of refugees to pass into Austria and Germany since Saturday, will come to end

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Migrants rest after they arrived to a collection point in the village of Roszke in Hungary after crossing the border from Serbia, September 6, 2015.

Emergency measures taken by Austria to allow thousands of refugees to pass into Austria and Germany after being stranded in Hungary since Saturday will come to end, Austria said on Sunday.

After the photograph of a dead Syrian toddler laying on a Turkish beach shocked the world, Austria, after intensive negotiations with Germany and Hungary, had suspended its border checks and agreed to take emergency measures, allowing refugees to pass through its borders to reach Germany.

More than 100 buses were deployed to the border on Saturday, to aid the desperate refugees who were stranded in Budapest, most were Syrian refugees trying to enter Germany. However, since the buses did not have enough capacity to take all the refugees, many had no choice but to walk 170 km on foot. 

A girl waves from inside a bus on her way to a refugee camp after arriving with a train in Dortmund, Germany September 6, 2015.

Austrian Chancellor, Werner Faymann, said on Sunday that "We have always said this is an emergency situation in which we must act quickly and humanely. We have helped more than 12,000 people in an acute situation."

"Now we have to move step-by-step away from emergency measures towards normality, in conformity with the law and dignity." he added.

After 71 refugees suffocated in a truck, en route to Austria and Germany from Hungary, Austria had agreed to waive the rules which dictate that the refugees have to claim asylum in the first EU country they arrive in.

In July alone, a record number of 50,000 people arrived at Greek beaches, fleeing the four-year-long war in Syria, many are also fleeing desperate conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan. To reach EU countries refugees are heading through the woods at night towards Macedonia then crossing into Serbia and then to Hungary to finally reach EU countries, which they hope will grant them asylum.

Migrants walk along rail tracks as they arrive to a collection point in the village of Roszke, Hungary, September 6, 2015, after crossing the border from Serbia.

The Cypriot Coastguard on Sunday rescued 114 Syrian refugees who were trying to cross the Mediterranean, after the fishing boat they were on capsized. Whilst a ferry took 1,744 refugees to Athens from Lesbos. Another boat with around 2,500 refugees is expected to arrive, according to the coastguard.

In 2015, at least 2,000 refugees have died in the Mediterranean while attempting to reach Europe.


TRTWorld and agencies