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europe migrant crisis

Hungary’s government has declared a state of emergency at the Serbian border as tough new laws to stop refugees entering illegally took effect at midnight.

Hungarian police said they had arrested 60 people accused of trying to breach a razor-wire fence on the border with Serbia.

The state of emergency gives police extra powers and would allow troop deployments if parliament approves.

The EU states are facing a huge influx of refugees, many fleeing conflict and poverty in countries including Syria.

Meanwhile, Germany and Austria are calling for a special meeting of EU leaders next week to discuss the crisis.Hungary state of emergency refugees

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a news conference that “this problem can only be solved together. It is a responsibility for the entire European Union”.

The EU’s border agency said more than 500,000 refugees had arrived at the EU’s borders in 2015, compared with 280,000 in 2014. The vast majority have come by boat across the Mediterranean.

A boat following the most popular recent route, between Turkey and Greece, sank on September 15 leaving 22 people dead, Turkish media reported.

Starting on September 15, the European Union has agreed to relocate 40,000 migrants from Greece and Italy to other EU states. However, it has yet to agree on mandatory quotas for a further 120,000 asylum seekers.

After the new Hungarian laws came into effect at midnight, police sealed a railway crossing point that had been used by tens of thousands of migrants.

Around midday there were tense scenes as hundreds streamed towards the fence, some searching for a way through and others starting a sit-down strike, throwing down food and water in protest at not being granted passage.

Hungarian authorities said more than 9,000 – a new record – crossed into the country before the border was closed on September 14. Some 20,000 crossed into Austria.

From September 15, anyone who crosses the border illegally will face criminal charges, and 30 judges have been put on standby to try offenders.

The laws also make it a criminal offence – punishable by prison or deportation – to damage the newly-built 13ft fence along Hungary’s 110 mile border with Serbia.

Denmark has decided to suspend all trains to and from Germany after police stopped hundreds of refugees at the border.

Danish police also closed a highway between Denmark and Germany when some refugees began walking north after being forced off a train.

Refugees say their destination is Sweden.

As the EU struggles with a major migrant crisis, the European Commission has proposed that 120,000 additional asylum seekers should be shared out between members, using binding quotas.

Denmark’s DSB rail operator said trains to and from Germany had been suspended for an indefinite period because of exceptional passport checks.

Two trains carrying more than 200 refugees are being held in Rodby, a major port with ferry links to Germany. Danish police say many migrants are refusing to leave the trains because they do not want to be registered in Denmark.Denmark and refugees 2015

Sweden has become a top destination for refugees after it promised to issue residency papers to all Syrian asylum seekers.

Police also closed part of the E45 highway – the main road link between Germany and Denmark – after about 300 migrants left another train and set off on foot towards Sweden near the border town of Padborg.

More than 1,200 refugees have crossed into Denmark from Germany in recent days.

Germany and Denmark are part of the “Schengen group” of European states that allow passport-free travel – although under the scheme border controls can be re-imposed in exceptional circumstances.

A surge of refugees fleeing conflict and hardship in Africa and the Middle East has pushed north through Europe over the past few weeks.

Many of those escaping the civil war in Syria have traveled from Turkey across the sea to Greece, through Macedonia and Serbia, and then to Hungary from where they aim to reach northern Europe.

On September 9, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced plans for a “swift, determined and comprehensive” response through a quota system.

In a “state of the union” annual address, Jean-Claude Juncker said tackling the crisis was “a matter of humanity and human dignity”.

“It’s 160,000 refugees in total that Europeans have to take into their arms and I really hope that this time everyone will be on board,” he told the European Parliament.

The new plans would relocate 60% of those now in Italy, Greece and Hungary to Germany, France and Spain.

The numbers allocated to each country would depend on GDP, population, unemployment rate and asylum applications already processed.

Countries refusing to take in migrants could face financial penalties.

On September 9, Spain on said it would accept a quota of almost 15,000 extra refugees set by the EU.

However, Jean-Claude Juncker’s proposals was criticized by both the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka said compulsory quotas were “not a good solution”, while his Slovak counterpart called them “irrational”.

France welcomed the first of 1,000 migrants it has pledged to take from Germany, having committed to receive 24,000 migrants over two years.

Germany has welcomed Syrian refugees, waiving EU rules and saying it expects to deal with 800,000 asylum seekers this year alone – though not all will qualify as refugees and some will be sent back.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the “breathtaking” flow of migrants into her country will “occupy and change” Germany in the coming years.

Angela Merkel said Germany would speed up asylum procedures and build extra housing, but called on other EU states to help.

In the same time, President Francois Hollande said France would take 24,000 refugees and that quotas for EU states to relocate 120,000 migrants were being planned.

Meanwhile, the flow of migrants across Europe shows no sign of easing.Angela Merkel on migrant crisis

On September 7, large numbers of people were reported to be streaming into Hungary across its southern border with Serbia.

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on September 7 that 120,000 migrants will be resettled under the proposals, on top of the 40,000 already agreed.

The 160,000 are said to include 66,000 who have arrived in Greece, 54,000 in Hungary and 40,000 in Italy.

Thousands of migrants who had arrived in Hungary made their way through Austria to Germany over the weekend. Those arriving at Munich station were cheered by locals.

Angela Merkel thanked volunteers who had helped and welcomed those arriving, saying they had “painted a picture of Germany which can make us proud of our country”.

However, she said that although Germany was “a country willing to take people in”, it was “time for the European Union to pull its weight”.

Germany – which expects 800,000 asylum requests this year – could face costs of €10 billion next year because of the influx, she added.

New quotas drawn up by the European Commission are set to be unveiled on September 9.


Austria is planning to phase out special measures that have allowed thousands of migrants to travel freely from Hungary to Western Europe, Chancellor Werner Faymann said.

The emergency measures for asylum seekers will be removed “step by step”, the chancellor added.

The easing of rules has meant thousands have been able to leave Hungary for Austria and Germany over the weekend.

Germany, where most of the migrants are heading, warned that its willingness to help “should not be overstretched”.

The German interior ministry said the decision to allow migrants in over recent days was an exception and that the EU’s rules requiring asylum seekers to be processed in the first country they arrived in remained valid.

Chancellor Werner Faymann issued his statement after speaking by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Hungarian PM Viktor Orban on September 6.

Photo AP

Photo AP

“We have always said this is an emergency situation in which we must act quickly and humanely,” the Austrian chancellor said.

“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,” he added.

The change means that Austria will restore spot checks on those entering the country, as it had before the weekend.

On September 6, a group of cars driven by German and Austrian activists travelled to Hungary to pick up migrants and distribute food.

Hungarian police said anyone taking people across the border was breaking the law on people smuggling – although the activists were able to collect migrants without being stopped.

The crisis took a dramatic turn on September 4, when Hungary removed restrictions on transit and helped migrants reach the Austrian border.

On September 5, about 10,000 people travelled by bus, train and on foot to Vienna, with many continuing to Munich and other German cities.

Thousands more were allowed to travel from Hungary to Austria and Germany on September 6.

The migrants had travelled north through the Balkans – Greece, Macedonia and Serbia – before arriving at Hungary’s southern border.


Germany and Austria are expecting thousands more migrants to arrive from Hungary after Budapest government eased restrictions on their travel on September 5.

Thousands of migrants traveled to the Austrian border by bus, by train and on foot before moving on to Vienna and Munich.

Austrian officials are laying on more trains as needed.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to hold talks with her coalition partners on a crisis that has divided the EU.

After days of confrontation and chaos, Hungary opened its borders with Austria and bussed thousands of migrants to the frontier.

Up to 10,000 arrived at the border on September 5, according to the Austrian authorities, who have said they do not plan to limit the numbers crossing into the country.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Many traveled straight on to Munich, southern Germany, where locals greeted them with applause, giving sweets to the children among the new arrivals.

They have been sent on to reception centers to be registered and receive food and clothing.

Both Germany and Hungary have said the current measures are aimed at averting a humanitarian crisis, and will not set a precedent.

The rules requiring refugees to apply for asylum in the first country they land in “are still valid, and we expect other European Union member states to stick to them”, a German government spokesman said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany can cope with the influx of newcomers without raising taxes or jeopardizing its budget.

Germany is the key destination for arrivals on European shores, and expects to take in 800,000 people this year.

Syrians fleeing a brutal civil conflict are the largest group travelling, followed by Afghans and Eritreans.

There is little sign of a co-ordinated EU response to the crisis, despite more than 350,000 migrants having crossed the EU’s borders in 2015 alone.

Germany, backed by the European Commission, has been pushing for a quota system for dividing the people reaching Europe between member states.

However, this has been opposed by several eastern members.

On September 5, Hungary said that while it had temporarily relaxed restrictions on the transit of asylum seekers, it was pressing ahead with plans to tighten border controls and could send troops to its southern frontier if parliament agreed.


At least 10,000 migrants have arrived in Munich after an arduous journey through Hungary and Austria.

German members of the public applauded and offered sweets as some 450 migrants arrived on a special train service.

The plight of the migrants has highlighted the EU’s struggle to deal with a surge of asylum seekers.

Earlier this week there were chaotic scenes in Budapest as Hungary blocked them from travelling onwards.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Many migrants refused to be taken to camps in Hungary to register for asylum, insisting they wanted to travel on to Germany and Austria.

Crowds broke through security lines and began walking 108 miles to the border, many with small children.

Under mounting pressure, Hungary opened its border with Austria, which expects to have received some 10,000 people by the end of the day on September 5.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany can cope with an influx of newcomers, without raising taxes or jeopardizing its budget.

Austria has also said it will not limit the number of migrants crossing its borders.

However, there is little sign of a coordinated EU response to the crisis, despite more than 350,000 migrants having crossed the EU’s borders in 2015 alone.

Germany, backed by the European Commission, has been pushing for a quota system for dividing the people reaching Europe between member states. But this has been opposed by several eastern members.

On September 5, Hungary said that while it had temporarily relaxed restrictions on the transit of asylum seekers, it was pressing ahead with plans to tighten border controls and could send troops to its southern frontier if parliament agreed.


Thousands of migrants have arrived in Austria, after Hungary’s surprise move to take them by bus to the border.

For days, Hungary had blocked them from travelling by train to northern and Western Europe.

On September 5, about 4,000 people crossed the Austrian border. They were received by the Red Cross and are now moving on towards Vienna and Germany.

Austria says the migrants, many of whom had initially fled Syria, can claim asylum there or carry on to Germany.

The move comes as EU countries are struggling to agree on how to deal with an unprecedented surge of asylum seekers.

The Hungarian government eased restrictions on transit after many frustrated migrants overwhelmed police cordons and set off towards the border on foot on September 4.

Buses began picking up migrants from Keleti train station in central Budapest, where thousands had been camped.

Vehicles were also sent to take those who had decided to walk along a motorway to Austria.Hungary migrants at Austrian border

On September 5, Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said there would be no more buses or trains to take the migrants on to Austria.

He said the transport had been arranged as a one-off, because of fears for the migrants’ safety.

As the migrants crossed the border on foot, some Austrians displayed welcome signs.

Austrian Red Cross workers at a makeshift centre greeted them with blankets and tea.

The migrants are now being taken by train and bus from the Austrian border town of Nickelsdorf to the capital Vienna.

Many hope to travel on to Germany, which says it expects 6,000 people to arrive over the weekend.

The German government has said Syrians can apply for asylum.

Germany has said it expects to take in 800,000 people this year.

Austria’s Chancellor Werner Faymann said that after talks with his German counterpart Angela Merkel, the two countries would allow in the migrants due to the “emergency situation” in Hungary.

However, he said he expected Hungary to respect any EU quotas for asylum seekers – something Hungary, along with the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, has rejected.

Hungary has become a major transit nation for people fleeing the Middle East and Africa, and seeking to reach north and west Europe.

The Hungarian parliament on September 4 approved tougher border controls and penalties for migrants, underlining divisions within the EU on how to tackle the crisis.

Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban has said the surge in arrivals was “Germany’s problem”, since that was where most people wanted to go.

However, Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for refugees to be fairly divided among EU members.


About 1,000 migrants stuck at Budapest’s Keleti train station for days have set off on foot, saying they intend to walk to the Austrian border.

Hungarian authorities are trying to contain thousands of people desperate to reach Western Europe.

Meanwhile, EU states are struggling to agree a common strategy to deal with the crisis.

The Hungarian, Czech, Slovakian and Polish prime ministers have rejected quotas for EU nations.

In a statement they rejected “any proposal leading to introduction of mandatory and permanent quota for solidarity measures”.Hungary migrants walking to Austrian border

The chaotic scenes in Hungary – a main transit country for those seeking to claim asylum in Germany and other countries in northern and Western Europe – have continued for another day.

Some of the migrants who had been waiting days at Keleti train station grew frustrated with the lack of international trains, and decided to walk to Austria – a distance of 110 miles.

Hungarian police seem to be escorting but not stopping them.

Some of those walking have been holding large photographs of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Under EU regulations, anyone wishing to seek asylum must do so in the first EU country they reach.

However, many of those who have arrived in Hungary do not wish to be registered there because it is more likely to send migrants back, and has a relatively small population and economy.

They want to continue on to seek asylum in Germany and other richer countries.

Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban warned on September 4 of “the end of Europe”.

“Today we are talking about tens of thousands but next year we will be talking about millions and this has no end,” Viktor Orban said.


Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban says the migrant crisis facing Europe is a “German problem” since Germany is where those arriving in the EU “would like to go”.

He said Hungary would not allow migrants to leave its territory without registering.

Viktor Orban’s comments came as Hungarian authorities opened Budapest’s main rail station to hundreds of migrants after a two-day stand-off.

One train left, but then stopped near a migrant reception centre.

Migrants resisted efforts by police to get them off the train at Bicske, about 25 miles west of Budapest. Some were banging on the windows and shouting “Germany, Germany”.

EU rules place responsibility for assessing asylum claims on the country where a migrant first arrives.

Many of the migrants currently in Hungary have been refusing to register there, in order to continue their journeys to Germany before seeking asylum.Europe migrants Budapest train station

The migrants stuck at Budapest’s Keleti station were prevented from boarding trains on September 1 and 2. Some were involved in scuffles with police.

They had bought tickets after Hungary briefly appeared to abandon efforts to register migrants on August 31, allowing huge numbers to board trains to Vienna and southern Germany.

After the station opened on September 3, rail staff said international trains were indefinitely suspended, but international tickets would be accepted on internal trains.

The number of migrants entering Europe has reached record levels, with 107,500 arriving in July alone. Germany expects to take in 800,000 migrants this year – four times last year’s total.

The surge in numbers has created tension and disagreement over EU migration policy. Germany has been prepared to accept large numbers of asylum seekers, but other countries have not.

Viktor Orban, who heads the anti-immigrant Fidesz party and was in Brussels for talks, said border control was “the number one issue”.

During a tense press conference with European Parliament President Martin Schulz, PM Viktor Orban said that “nobody would like to stay in Hungary, neither in Slovakia nor Poland nor Estonia”.

“All of them would like to go to Germany,” he said.

“Our job is only to register them.”

Martin Schulz countered: “What we are seeing for the time being is egoism instead of common European sense.

“To say <<yeah, you know we have refugees all over in Europe but they all want to go to Germany and therefore we are not concerned>> is effective, but wrong. And therefore I think we need a fair and just distribution.”


Three Syrian children and their families, who were rescued from a minivan containing 26 migrants in Austria, have disappeared from the hospital where they were being treated, police say.

The children were taken to hospital in the town of Braunau am Inn on August 28 suffering from severe dehydration.

Their discovery came a day after 71 bodies, thought to be migrants, were found on a dumped truck in Austria.

Several European countries have called for urgent talks on the migrant crisis.

Austrian police said they stopped the minivan in Braunau, which sits on Austria’s border with Germany, on August 28 and arrested its Romanian driver.

The children – two girls and a boy aged between one and five years old – were said to have been crammed in the back along with other migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.Austria migrant minivan

Police said they were critically ill and almost unconscious when they were found.

The children and their families disappeared from the hospital at some point on August 29.

Authorities believe they may have tried to cross the border into Germany, rather than face deportation back to Hungary.

Separately on August 30, Hungarian police said they had arrested a fifth man over the deaths of the 71 people who were found in the abandoned truck in Austria on August 27.

The man is the fourth Bulgarian to be held over the find near the Hungarian border. The other man is Afghan. Authorities believe the men are low-level members of a human trafficking gang.

Officials said the 59 men, eight women and four children – thought to be mainly Syrians – had probably died of suffocation two days earlier.

It is the latest in a series of tragic events as more and more migrants attempt to reach Europe by land or by sea. A record number of 107,500 migrants crossed the EU’s borders last month.

A second migrant truck has been found in Austria, police said.

The truck contained 26 migrants including three children in critical condition.

The vehicle was stopped in Braunau district and the Romanian driver was arrested after a chase.Austria migrant truck

Those inside were said to be from Syria, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Separately, four men appeared in court in Hungary following the discovery of another truck in Austria containing the bodies of 71 people.

In the latest incident, the three children were taken to hospital suffering from severe dehydration.

Police had tried to stop the vehicle near St Peter am Hart and gave chase when it drove off at speed.

Four people have been arrested by Hungarian police over the discovery of the bodies of 71 migrants, thought to be Syrian, in an abandoned truck in Austria.

Three of those arrested are Bulgarian and one is Afghan.

The bodies of 59 men, 8 women and four children were discovered on August 27 in an abandoned truck on an Austrian highway near the Hungarian border.

They are thought to have been dead for about two days.

Officials said the victims probably died after suffocating in the vehicle.

The truck was towed to a customs building with refrigeration facilities where forensic teams worked through the night to examine the bodies.

The migrants are thought to have been dead when the vehicle crossed into Austria from Hungary. Among the victims was a girl aged between one and two years old.Austria migrant truck arrests

The local Austrian police chief said a travel document found on the vehicle suggested that the group were Syrian migrants.

“Our preliminary assumption is of course that they were refugees, possibly a group of Syrian refugees,” Hans Peter Doskozil, Burgenland province police chief, told reporters.

The truck had the branding of a Slovakian poultry company, Hyza, on it but the firm said it no longer owned the vehicle.

Hans Peter Doskozil said it was unusual for people smugglers to use a refrigerated vehicle.

“In our preliminary investigation we found that there was no ventilation possible through the sides of the truck,” he said, adding that the victims had probably suffocated.

Hungarian police said in a statement that they had “conducted house searches… and questioned almost 20 people as witnesses”.

Hans Peter Doskozil said one of the Bulgarians arrested is assumed to be the truck’s owner, while it is “highly likely” the other two are “the ones who drove the vehicle”.

He said there was “an indication we are talking about a Bulgarian-Hungarian human trafficking operation”.

“If you look at the organization of people traffickers, these are the lowest two levels of a criminal organization,” Hans Peter Doskozil added.

No details have been given about the Afghan detainee.

The truck, which has Hungarian number plates, is understood to have left Budapest on Wednesday morning, August 26.

It is believed to have been parked in the lay-by between Neusiedl and Parndorf for at least 24 hours before police discovered the bodies.

Tens of thousands of migrants from conflict-hit states in the Middle East and Africa have been trying to make their way to Europe in recent months.

A record number of 107,500 migrants crossed the EU’s borders last month.

Some of them pay large sums of money to people smugglers to get them through borders illegally.


The bodies of more than 70 people, thought to be migrants, have been found in an abandoned truck found on an Austrian highway on August 27, Austrian authorities say.

Authorities originally estimated that between 20 to 50 people died in the vehicle, found near the Hungarian border.

Police sent to investigate the dumped truck on the A4 road towards Vienna discovered the decomposing bodies.

The local police chief said it appeared those in the truck had been dead for one-and-a-half to two days.

The victims were probably already dead when the vehicle crossed into Austria from Hungary, authorities said. It is unclear how they died.Austria migrant truck 2015

The vehicle was towed to a customs building with refrigeration facilities in Nickelsdorf where forensic teams worked through the night to examine the bodies.

Austrian police are expected to reveal the exact toll at a news conference at 11:00 on August 28.

The police forces in Austria and Hungary are working together to try and find the driver.

A report in Austrian newspaper Krone said on August 28 that seven people had been arrested in Hungary, but this has not been confirmed.

The truck bears the logo of a Slovakian poultry company, Hyza, which said it no longer owned the vehicle – but the buyers had not removed the branding.

The Hungarian prime minister’s chief of staff, Janos Lazar, said on August 28 that the truck was registered to a Romanian citizen in Kecskemet, a city in central Hungary.

Hans Peter Doskozil, police chief in the Burgenland province where the lorry was found, said it was a refrigerated vehicle – not the typical choice for people smugglers, he added.

The truck, which has Hungarian number plates, is understood to have left Budapest on August 26.


More than 20 migrants have been found dead in a truck abandoned on an Austrian highway lay-by near the eastern border with Hungary, local authorities say.

The number of dead could be as high as 50, police say. Their bodies had started to decompose.

The truck has been moved to an undisclosed location for detailed examination.

The shocking find comes as a summit focusing on migration takes place in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

Tens of thousands of migrants from conflict-hit states in the Middle East and Africa have been trying to make their way to Europe.

Austria’s Chancellor Werner Faymann said the tragedy showed once again “how necessary it is to save lives by combating criminals and people traffickers”.

The vehicle – a refrigerated truck with Hungarian license plates – was parked off the A4 highway between Parndorf and Neusiedl am See, according to Burgenland police chief Hans Peter Doskozil.

Officers had found at least 20 bodies inside the truck, but there could be 30, 40 or even 50 inside, he told Austrian TV.

The truck was found late on Thursday morning, August 27, but had been there since at least August 26, Peter Doskozil said.

The victims had been dead for some time.

At 15:30 local time the truck was towed away, and was due to be taken to a hall in the local area for further examination, Austrian media report.

Only there would the truck be opened and the recovery of the bodies begin, the authorities said.Europe migrants dead in Austrian truck

The truck bears the logo of a Slovakian poultry company, Hyza, which said in a statement that the vehicle no longer belonged to the firm – but the new owners had not removed the branding.

Hungarian police are working with Austrian police on the investigation, a spokesman for the Hungarian prime minister said.

Hungary had been informed that the driver was Romanian, the spokesman said.

In Vienna, Serbia and Macedonia have told the summit on migration that EU must come up with an action plan to respond to the influx of migrants into Europe.

Austria has complained that the EU has failed to address the problem of people entering via the Western Balkans.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today’s find “reminds us to tackle the issue of migration with European spirit and find solutions”.

A record number of 107,500 migrants crossed the EU’s borders last month and on August 26 police counted more than 3,000 crossing into Serbia.

Meanwhile migrants are continuing to die as they try to reach Europe via the central Mediterranean route. The bodies of at least 51 people were found on August 26 in the hold of a stricken ship off the coast of Libya.