Hundreds of migrants spend the night outside Budapest’s Eastern Railway Terminus after Hungary refuses to let them board westbound trains to Germany.
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (SEPTEMBER 2, 2015) (REUTERS) – Hundreds of migrants on Wednesday (September 2) camped outside Budapest’s Eastern railway station where Hungarian authorities have prevented them from boarding trains bound for Germany.
More than 2,000 migrants, including families with children, were waiting in the square outside the station in 40 degree-Celsius (104-Fahrenheit) heat.
One Syrian refugee told Reuters TV why he wanted to go to Germany.
“Because it helps (the migrants) more than other countries. They don’t care about fingerprints, like Hungary,” said the unidentified young man.
Asked if Hungary would again let migrants board trains to Germany as it did on Monday (August 31), a spokesman for the government said it would observe European Union rules.
The biggest ever influx of migrants into the European Union has left its asylum policies in tatters.
A refugee crisis rivalling the Balkan wars of the 1990s as Europe’s worst since World War Two has polarised and confounded the European Union, which has no mechanism to cope with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of poor and desperate people.
Germany is likely to accept by far the largest share.
In the case of those fleeing the Syrian civil war it has effectively suspended an EU rule that asylum seekers must apply in the first EU country they reach.
But with trainloads of migrants rolling into Munich and Rosenheim from Austria and Hungary, it insisted on Tuesday (September 1) that the rule was nevertheless still in force and urged other EU countries to abide by it.
The vast majority of refugees fleeing violence and other migrants escaping poverty arrive on Europe’s southern and eastern edges but are determined to press on and seek asylum in richer countries further north and west. That means illegally crossing a bloc with no internal border controls to stop them.
Hungary has emerged as one of the main flashpoints of the crisis as the primary gateway for migrants travelling over land through the Balkans and into the EU.
Officials shut the Budapest train station altogether on Tuesday, then reopened it but barred entry to migrants. The decision was a reversal from Monday, when Hungary and Austria let trainloads of undocumented migrants head for Germany.
European laws, known as the “Dublin rules”, require asylum seekers to apply in the country where they enter the EU and stay there until their applications are processed, even though 26 members of the bloc have no border controls between them.
The countries where most first enter the European Union – Italy, Greece and Hungary – say they have no capacity to process applications on such a scale.
Germany announced last month it would allow Syrians arriving from elsewhere in the EU to apply for asylum without being sent back to the country where they entered the bloc.