Austria to revoke measures that let migrants cross from Hungary

Updated: 2015-09-07 14:12


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Austria to revoke measures that let migrants cross from Hungary

Migrants walk along rail tracks as they arrive to a collection point in the village of Roszke in Hungary after crossing the border from Serbia, September 6, 2015, . Thousands of refugees and migrants streamed into Germany on Sunday, many traveling through Austria from Hungary where they had been stranded against their will for days, while European Union governments argue over how to respond. [Photo/Agencies]

VIENNA/MUNICH - Austria said on Sunday it planned to end emergency measures that have allowed thousands of refugees stranded in Hungary into Austria and Germany since Saturday morning.

Austria had suspended its random border checks after photographs of a Syrian toddler lying dead on a Turkish beach showed Europeans the horror faced by those desperate enough to travel illegally into the heart of Europe, which is deeply divided over how to cope.

After 71 people suffocated in the back of a truck abandoned on an Austrian highway en route from Hungary, and as thousands headed from Budapest towards Austria on foot, Vienna had agreed with Germany to waive rules requiring refugees to register an asylum claim in the first EU country they reach.

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said that decision was being revised following "intensive talks" with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a telephone call with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, bitterly opposed to the waiver.

"We have always said this is an emergency situation in which we must act quickly and humanely. We have helped more than 12,000 people in an acute situation," Faymann said.

"Now we have to move step-by-step away from emergency measures towards normality, in conformity with the law and dignity."

Hungary laid on over 100 buses to the border on Saturday night after Austria said it had agreed the emergency measures, to the relief of thousands of migrants and refugees stranded in Budapest after travelling through the Balkans and Greece, many of them fleeing civil war in Syria.

Others set off from the station to make the 170 km (110 mile) journey on foot. The platforms filled up again on Sunday.

Germany has said it expects to receive 800,000 refugees and migrants this year, and urged other EU members to open their doors.

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