Germany Opens Borders, Expects 7,000 Refugees and Migrants From Hungary Over Weekend
Germany anticipates up to 7,000 people pouring across its borders from Hungary over a 48-hour span, authorities told NBC News — a final stop for asylum seekers fleeing war and poverty in their homelands.
Most of the refugees and migrants are arriving this weekend in the German state of Bavaria, which borders Austria, and authorities are organizing buses and trains to take them to other states throughout the weekend.
About 4,300 people were received by 8 p.m. local time, Munich police tweeted. “They were welcomed warmly,” the tweet said.
Neighboring Austria said it received at least 6,500 refugees and migrants who flooded across the Hungarian border, where charity workers provided hospitality and much-needed bedding and food.
Hungarian authorities had spent most of the week trying to force those crossing into the country to report to government-run refugee centers to apply for asylum in their initial European Union entry point as the 28-nation bloc’s rules require. But thousands refused — some expressing fears that Hungary would deport or detain them indefinitely — and demanded free passage overwhelmingly to Germany.
German government spokesman Georg Streiter told The Associated Press that Saturday’s acceptance of migrants represented “an attempt to help solve an emergency situation. But we continue to expect Hungary to meet its European obligations.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has led calls for other EU members to shelter more migrants as potential refugees, particularly those fleeing civil war in Syria, said in comments published Saturday that her country would observe no legal limit on the number of asylum seekers it might take.
Refugees rest after they crossed the border arriving from Hungary to Nickelsdorf, Austria, Sept. 5. ROLAND SCHLAGER / EPA
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