Weren’t the Hungarians working to the book when they said genuine refugees were entitled to go into Europe, whilst economic migrants were not?
“It is clear that the Member States where most refugees first arrive – at the moment, these are Italy, Greece and Hungary – can not be left alone to cope with this challenge”, he said, outlining plans for an emergency mechanism to relocate 120,000 people from Italy, Greece and Hungary, based on a quota system, on top of the proposal to relocate 40,000 announced in May but yet do be adopted by the region. Others, fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Afghanistan or Pakistan, have endured treacherous and often deadly sea journeys across the Mediterranean to reach European soil.
The European Parliament has backed the plan of EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to spread out 160,000 refugees in Hungary, Greece and Italy across the other member states.
By early afternoon, all had crossed but thousands more were on their way, heading to the Greek mainland in ferries from the country’s overcrowded eastern islands.
Eighty-five percent of those polled said they believe the decision to let in the refugees will lead to still more setting off for Germany.
Now that Hungary has allowed thousands of immigrants to travel through to Austria and Germany, do I take it that the rule book has been thrown away?
European Union interior ministers are to meet on Monday to discuss the proposals and several eastern members of the bloc have already expressed their opposition to a compulsory resettlement plan.
Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch asserted Hungary was keeping migrants and refugees “in pens like animals, out in the sun without food and water”.
But not all agree with his vision.
Junker described this as a “procedural” issue, helping European Union countries to prioritize refugees from Syria, rather than a move that would override the Geneva Convention on refugees.
She said that beyond attempts to deal with that, “I can only advise women to learn the language”.
These steps and Hungary’s border fence should divert the flood of migrants to elsewhere, the minister said. She said that they should consider learning with their children, who may speak better German as a result of going to school – “they shouldn’t be scared off by that”.
During his state of the union address on Wednesday, Juncker said most of Europe’s incoming refugees were fleeing the war in Syria, the terror of Islamic State militants in Libya or dictatorship in Eritrea.
Sigmar Gabriel told Parliament in Berlin on Thursday that Germany had registered some 450,000 migrants this year, including 105,000 in August and 37,000 in September through Tuesday.
Many refugees hope to settle in wealthy nations like Germany and Sweden and the European Union is struggling find a more equitable solution that would also send a fair share of refugees to less-desirable and less-welcoming places such as Slovakia and the Baltics.
According to Hungarian Chief of Staff General Tibor Benko, Hungary’s army launched a military exercise called “Decisive Action” on Wednesday in order to prepare soldiers for possible deployment to the country’s southern border with Serbia.
Austrian Federal Railways says train service has been suspended between the main border crossing point to Hungary and Vienna. But thousands more remained, and about 3,000 continue to arrive every day, he said.