Kurier, Sept. 7, 2015
â€œThey reached safety â€" what now?,â€ Vienna-based daily Kurier asks on its front page Monday, as at least 15,000 refugees crossed the border from Hungary over the weekend into Austria.
After days of confrontation between refugees â€" mostly fleeing violence in Syria and Iraq â€" and authorities in Budapest stopping them from travelling to Western Europe, Austria and Hungary agreed to ease asylum rules. This allowed groups of buses and trains operated by both Austrian and Hungarian authorities, but also activists, to bring refugees across the border.
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said these emergency measures would now be â€œphased out,â€ explaining they cannot be a permanent solution. After meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban Sunday, he said the measures would now move step-by-step â€œtowards normality.â€
Faymann also called for an emergency summit with EU leaders to resolve the migrant crisis. The meeting could take place on September 14, after discussions among interior ministers.
"There is no alternative to a common European solution," the Social Democrat was quoted as saying by the Austrian Press Agency (APA).
A few hundred refugees claimed asylum in Austria over the weekend, as most are expected to travel on to Germany, where Merkel's government said it would accept all Syrian asylum seekers, regardless of which EU country they reached first.
In Austria, migrants are afraid they could be sent back to Hungary, under the Dublin III regulation, which states that refugees must seek asylum in the first EU country the enter. Germany is expected to receive a record 800,000 asylum seekers this years, four times more than in 2014.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is slated to present a plan Wednesday to relocate 120,000 refugees across Europe. France is set to receive 24,000 refugees, and Spain could take in about 15,000, German daily Die Welt reports. British Prime Minister David Cameron said his country would take in â€œthousandsâ€ more refugees from Syria, without providing a specific number, the BBC reported.