A large number of migrants, predominantly from Syria, were stopped boarding Germany bound trains from Budapest’s Keleti train station. The station soon saw protests and Hungarian police pushed many of the protesters outside the terminal as the Hungarian government suspended all rail services from the station.
Refugees and Crisis
The migrants came to know early on September 1 through an announcement that the station was locked down for arrivals and departures for an indefinite period of time. They were asked to leave while thousands of refugees were making efforts to reach Germany-the preferred destination with hopes for legalized status and accommodation.
The Hungarian action comes at a time when the Hungarian foreign minister assured that the country will register all those who come as refugees, but the economic migrants will be deported to the state from where they came to Hungary. The authorities at first shut the Keleti train station and then opened it again. Migrants, however, were kept out. A large group of migrants were gathered outside, shouting “Germany” and “Freedom”. Many of them said they had spent a lot of money on buying train tickets.
The specter of confusion was highlighted by Johanna Mikl-Leitner, the interior minister of Austria, urging Germany to be transparent about its position on asylum rules. Werner Faymann, the chancellor of Austria, rebuked Hungary about the latter’s failure to register the migrants prior to them being sent further on. Faymann said that the migrants are simply boarding the train from Budapest to go to another country- with no discernible Hungarian policy being affected.
Peter Szijjarto, the Hungarian minister for trade and foreign affairs expressed his anger at Faymann’s comments by summoning the Ambassador of Austria to its Foreign Ministry. The Hungarian government said that it found incomprehensible and disappointing that a country’s leader could talk casually about issues which cause Hungary- and Europe as well- gargantuan difficulties.
The ice cold reception the migrants got in Budapest was in stark contrast with the welcome received in Munich, where, according to police sources, approximately 2,500 refugees have arrived from Budapest by train within a 24 hour span. Hundreds more went on arriving until the early hours of September 1.
The tapestry of despair and confusion at Keleti highlights the challenges which face Europe as a large number of migrants- fleeing the Syrian and Middle East conflicts- make the perilous journey to European shores. When they reach Europe, they suffer a kaleidoscope of policies spread across 28 member countries very ill-equipped to control the surge.