14. September 2015 · Kommentare deaktiviert für „Hungary transports refugees to Austria before border clampdown“ · Kategorien: Balkanroute, Österreich, Ungarn · Tags: ,

Quelle: The Guardian

Special trains taking refugees from camps in southern Hungary directly to Austria, and Vienna says it is sending troops to border to improve security

Hungary is transporting thousands of refugees by train and dumping them on the border with Austria, the UN refugee agency has said, as EU states scrambled to follow Germany’s lead and introduce new controls on their borders.

Special trains were taking refugees on a four-hour journey from camps in southern Hungary directly to Austria, the UNHCR said. There are signs that Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, wants to empty refugee camps before a law comes into force on Tuesday criminalising the act of crossing or damaging a newly built border fence.

At least three trains carrying 2,000 people left on Sunday from the Hungarian town of Röszke, the UNHCR’s regional representative Erno Simon said. He added: “During the night our colleagues saw police waking people up at the [Hungarian] border collection point.”

Austria said it was sending troops to its border to help with security. The numbers entering from Hungary had reached overwhelming levels, police said, with 14,000 arriving on Sunday and another 7,000 by mid-Monday, and more expected.

Austria’s vice-chancellor, Reinhold Mittelehner, said: “If Germany carries out border controls, Austria must put strengthened border controls in place. We are doing that now.”

Slovakia said it was introducing checks on its borders with Hungary and Austria and would deploy 220 extra officers. Polandd’s prime minister, Ewa Kopacz, said Warsaw would restore border controls in response to “outside threats”.

On Sunday Berlin announced new controls on its border with Austria and halted train traffic between Austria and Germany. Germany’s interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, said the measures were necessary because record numbers of refugees, many of them from Syria, had stretched the system to breaking point.

The measures are likely to remain in place for weeks if not months, German officials have indicated. Police patrols have been set up on road crossings between Austria and Bavaria, leading to four-mile tailbacks on Monday. Similar measures will be rolled out in the federal state of Saxony, on the border with the Czech Republic.

Together these measures suggest that the EU’s Schengen agreement has effectively broken down, as EU states come up with their own unilateral initiatives to stop , or at least slow down, the refugee influx. Since September 70,000 have arrived at Munich’s main train station, including 20,000 over the weekend before train traffic was stopped.

Trains between the two countries resumed on Monday morning, but by midday no further refugees had arrived. There were reports that several hundred refugees had been taken off trains at the Austrian border town of Freilassing.

It is unclear whether these moves will have any effect. In a letter to Social Democrat party members, Germany’s vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, said one million asylum seekers could arrive in Germany this year, up from the government’s estimate last month of 800,000.

Hungary’s Orban has blamed the crisis on Angela Merkel’s decision two weeks ago to open Germany’s borders to unregistered refugees. On Monday the finishing touches were being put on a new four-metre-tall fence along Hungary’s 110-mile border with Serbia.

Merkel has yet to comment on the new travel restrictions. But on Monday her spokesman Steffen Seibert said Germany “could still do it”, echoing the chancellor’s optimistic remarks late last month that the country was “strong” and could cope. Seibert admitted, however: “Nobody every said we could do it overnight.”

Hungary’s apparent decision to ship out as many refugees as possible has led to bottlenecks on the Austrian border. At least 7,000 refugees were stuck at the southern Austrian border town of Nickelsdorf, and 5,000 spent Sunday night in Vienna, police said.

“The accommodation centres in Nickelsdorf, Parndorf and in the near surroundings are all full,” a police spokesman said. “At the moment, no buses are running. The only buses that are running are taking people to the station until a special train leaves, but otherwise we have no accommodation at the moment.”

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