On Sunday, Austria announced that it planned to phase out emergency measures that have allowed thousands of >refugees stranded against their will in Hungary to enter Austria and Germany since Saturday.
Many are fleeing war in West Asia and hope to take refuge in Germany, Europe’s richest country, but the EU is divided over how to cope with the influx which has provoked both >huge sympathy and anti-Muslim resentment among Europeans.
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said the decision, a day after the measures were put in place, followed “intensive talks” with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a telephone call with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
“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,” he said. “Now we have to move step-by-step away from emergency measures towards normality, in conformity with the law and dignity.”
In Hungary, migrants boarded trains at Keleti station on Sunday, following handwritten signs in Arabic directing people to trains to Hegyeshalom on the border with Austria. But on Hungary’s border with Serbia there were reports that people spent the night in the rain without food or shelter. The Cypriot coastguard picked up 114 Syrian refugees who were adrift in a fishing boat.