• Austria's news in English

Resources stretched as 20,000 refugees arrive

The Local/AFP · 21 Sep 2015, 08:00

Published: 21 Sep 2015 08:00 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

At the Austrian town of Nickelsdorf on the Hungarian border, some 7,000 refugees and migrants arrived on Sunday alone, a pile-up that caused long waits for onward transport. A snaking line of arrivals awaited buses, with others hoping for taxis to take them to Vienna.

"It's known that once you get to Austria, you've arrived," said Saeed, a 23-year-old from Damascus who is hoping his odyssey will end in Germany.

"As we approach the Europe that we want, people are getting nicer and nicer."

Budapest suddenly reopened the Horgos-Roszke 1 crossing on Sunday, the closure of which had added distance and uncertainty for those undertaking the gruelling journey across the Balkans into western Europe, with Croatia saying more than 25,000 had entered its territory since Wednesday.

Austria's Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner has said she will consider granting refugees temporary limited asylum status - although the majority of people arriving in Austria hope to continue on to Germany.

5,120 asylum applications have been made in Austria since the beginning of September. Applications have jumped to an average of around 300 per day since Germany reintroduced border controls.

Eastern European ministers are meeting on Monday to attempt to bridge stark differences over their refugee policies, as an escalating crisis saw thousands of migrants shunted from one border to another over the weekend.

Croatia said it could not cope with the huge influx and began redirecting migrants back towards Hungary or towards Slovenia, sparking angry reactions from both countries.

Both Zagreb and Budapest have stepped up efforts to move the huge crowds through and out of their territory as quickly as possible, with Croatia pushing a record 1,200 migrants onto neighbouring Hungary in the space of an hour on Sunday.

The right-wing government in Budapest has already built a razor-wire barrier along much of its border with Croatia, after sealing off its frontier with Serbia in a bid to keep migrants out.

The talks on Monday between the foreign ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Latvia with their counterpart from Luxembourg, which currently holds the EU presidency, are aimed at addressing divides between neighbouring states.

EU interior ministers will also meet on Tuesday, in the hope that significant progress will be made by the time a bloc-wide emergency summit opens on Wednesday.

The continent's worst migration crisis since World War II has caused a deep rift between EU members over how to distribute the arrivals.

The massive influx has raised questions over the fate of the Schengen agreement allowing borderless travel across most countries within the 28-nation bloc, with several of them imposing border controls.

There are also bitter divisions over how to distribute the influx fairly between EU members, with several Eastern European countries staunchly opposed to plans for mandatory quotas of refugees.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/AFP (news.austria@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Radioactive uranium rocks on display in Austrian schools
Uraninite crystals. Photo: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com/Wikimedia

Education officials have carried out urgent checks in schools across the country after one of the stones on display in a classroom turned out to be radioactive.

Austrian churches slam far-right's 'God' slogan
Campaign poster for Norbert Hofer. Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Austrian church officials have denounced far-right presidential candidate Norbert Hofer for "instrumentalising" God in a new slogan.

'Scary clown' pushes 14-year-old off his bike in Salzburg
Generic photo: Graeme Maclean/Flick

A 14-year-old boy in Salzburg has been injured after being pushed off his bike by an individual dressed as a scary clown.

Police puzzled by random stabbing of teenager in Vienna
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A 15-year-old boy who was stabbed near his home in the Vienna district of Liesing on Friday morning by a complete stranger has spoken to the police.

'Sensational' 300-year-old Madonna found in Burgenland
The head of the statue was found beside the body. Photo: ORF

A 300-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary has been found hidden in a chapel next to a Catholic church in Loretto, Burgenland.

Baumgartner 'failed to mention Red Bull' before jumping to Earth
Felix Baumgartner. Photo: Red Bull Stratos

Felix Baumgartner has been accused of cheating his Red Bull sponsors after he failed to mention the energy drink just before he jumped to Earth.

Verdict on swimming pool rape case overturned
The Theresienbad swimming pool in Vienna. Photo: Wikimedia

An Iraqi refugee who was jailed after claiming it was a sexual emergency when he raped a boy in a swimming pool has had the sentence overturned.

Vienna Comic Con promises to be 'bigger and more galactic'
Cosplay star Yaya Han. Copyright: Yaya Han/Bryan Humphrey

Comic Con returns to the Austrian capital on November 19th-20th at the Messe Wien.

Three refugees arrested on drugs charges
Cannabis plants. Photo: J. Patrick Bedell/Wikimedia

A gang of three Afghani drug dealers has been busted in Vienna.

Hungarian woman crushed by snowcat piste machine
Snowcat machine. Photo: Melensdad/Wikimedia

A young Hungarian woman has died after being crushed by a snowcat piste machine on the Dobratsch mountain in Carinthia.

12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available