Europe

Migrant crisis: Hundreds end journey at Munich station

  • 1 September 2015
  • From the section Europe
Related Topics
An Afghan family reaches Munich station (31 August) Image copyright AFP
Image caption The first trains carrying hundreds of migrants began arriving in Munich on Monday night

Trains carrying hundreds of migrants have arrived in the German city of Munich, after Hungary abandoned efforts to register them under EU rules.

Some 1,400 people had arrived in Munich by Tuesday morning, after travelling through Austria, and more were due.

Hungarian police have now closed a main station in Budapest in an attempt to bring the crisis under control.

The number of migrants entering Europe has reached record levels, with 107,500 arriving in July alone.

Outside Keleti (eastern) station in Budapest, around 1,000 migrants chanted "Germany, Germany", calling for the station to be reopened so that they could continue their journey.

Germany expects to take in 800,000 migrants this year - four times last year's total.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Hungarian police closed Keleti station until further notice on Tuesday

Many of the people who travelled to Munich had been waiting at Keleti station for days and boarded trains for Vienna on Monday, when police appeared to give up trying to process them. Reporters said they were mainly Syrians, Afghans and Eritreans.

Austrian authorities say 3,650 people arrived by train in Vienna on Monday. Most were aiming to travel on to Germany.

Media captionGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel: ''We want a fair distribution of refugees''

Under the EU's Dublin Regulation, asylum seekers must register in the first EU member state in which they arrive. However, the protocol has been widely abused, as many of those who reached Hungary first arrived in Greece, where they failed to claim asylum.

The Berlin government has already said it is suspending the Dublin rule for Syrians who have travelled to Germany.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many of those who arrived at Vienna's Westbahnhof station on Monday boarded trains heading further west
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Protesters called for more humanity towards migrants, outside the parliament building in Vienna on Monday night

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called for greater EU co-operation on the issue and implicitly called for other countries to welcome more refugees.

"If Europe fails on the question of refugees, then it won't be the Europe we wished for," she said.

Amid a surge in the numbers of migrants flowing through Hungary, Austria has tried to introduce extra checks on road vehicles crossing the border.

The risks for migrants were highlighted last week by the deaths of 71 people, found in a lorry that had travelled to Austria from Budapest.

Media captionThe rules governing immigration to the EU - explained in 90 seconds

Most of the dead were thought to be Syrians fleeing the country's civil war.

An estimated 20,000 people rallied outside parliament in Vienna late on Monday demanding better rights for migrants.

As well as the bodies in the lorry in Austria, hundreds more people drowned in the Mediterranean last week while trying to reach Europe from Libya.

'No police, no problem'

The BBC's Bethany Bell in Vienna says Germany is the main destination for migrants arriving on the EU's eastern borders.

Among them is Khalil, 33, an English teacher from Kobane in Syria who was travelling with his wife and sick daughter through Austria to Hamburg.

"Thank God nobody asked for a passport," he told Reuters news agency. "No police, no problem."

Mrs Merkel's call for greater co-operation was echoed by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who warned that Europe's migrant crisis would be a "long and difficult challenge".

The UN says the continuing conflict in Syria is a major factor behind the rise in migrant numbers.

Greece, Italy and Hungary have particularly struggled with the surge of migrants from not only Syria but the rest of the Middle East and Africa.

An extraordinary meeting of EU interior ministers is to be held on 14 September.

Some governments have refused to take in refugees and resisted EU proposals to agree on a common plan.

Others are tightening their policies on asylum and border security, sometimes because of rising anti-immigration sentiment.


10 days of the migrant crisis

  • Crowds of migrants rush at Macedonian border forces in an attempt to enter from Greece
  • Hundreds of people are feared dead after two boats carrying about 500 migrants sink in the Mediterranean, off Libya. More than 300,000 migrants have risked their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean this year, according to the UN
  • A lorry abandoned near Parndorf in Austria is found to have 71 dead people inside including four children
  • Twenty-six migrants are rescued from a van in Austria, near the border with Germany.

Why is EU struggling with migrants and asylum?



Have you made the journey to Vienna or elsewhere in Europe? Let us know about your experiences. Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk with your stories.

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

Or use the form below:

Your contact details

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

More on this story

Around the BBC