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Germany prepares for 40,000 migrants

September 12th, 2015 | Tags: Germany migrants Hungary humanitarian aid EU
Hundreds continue to stream into Munich rail station. Photo: EPA

Some 40,000 migrants could arrive in Germany over the next two days, officials say - double the number who entered the country last weekend.

Most are expected to arrive in the southern city of Munich but there are concerns about how the region will cope with another large influx.

Around 4,000 troops are being deployed in Germany for logistical support.

Germany has become an attractive destination for Syrian refugees since it waived EU rules.

The government announced in August that it would deal with Syrian asylum applications regardless of where the migrants first arrived in the EU - up until then, people had to claim asylum with the first EU country they reached.

Tens of thousands of mainly Syrian migrants have been making their way from Turkey, through the Balkans and Hungary to reach Austria, Germany and Sweden.

Migrants have continued to arrive in Macedonia from Greece, and more buses were reported to be making their way towards the Hungarian border this weekend.

Many migrants received a warm welcome at Munich rail station last weekend, and thousands have continued to arrive in Germany throughout the week.

The mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, has made an urgent call for other German regions to do more to process and accommodate the new arrivals.

He described as "scandalous" the failure of other regions to provide more accommodation, according to state broadcaster, ARD.

Reports suggest the government is considering new temporary powers to take control of unoccupied rental property so it can accommodate migrants.

A large processing hub is planned for northern Germany on the Luneburg Heath in Lower Saxony. Trains would take migrants there directly from Austria.

Meanwhile, protests in support of migrants are expected across Europe later on Saturday.

Ten of thousands of people are due to participate in a "day of action" with dozens of events taking place in several countries.

A handful of rival anti-migrant protests are also due to take place.

The crisis has exposed deep divisions within the European Union. The European Commission announced plans for obligatory quotas to share out 120,000 additional asylum seekers among 25 member countries.

Germany has been overwhelmed, not by refugees, but by an impressive wave of goodwill towards people fleeing war. Donations have flooded in, large numbers of volunteers have come forward and some Germans have even opened up their homes for migrants.

After years of nasty Nazi comparisons over Greece's debt crisis, many Germans are rather enjoying the sudden image boost as a beacon of humanitarian generosity.

But the mood could be shifting. Right-wing allies of Chancellor Angela Merkel have attacked her open-door policy, calling it "irresponsible" and "a political error."

And on Saturday, some commentators in mainstream papers are questioning whether Mrs Merkel's promise that Germany is able to shelter an unlimited number of migrants is really true.

The mainstream feeling remains impressively generous. But the fear is that if things get difficult, will there be a backlash?

The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia oppose being forced to take in new arrivals.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has called on the European Union to give Syria's neighbours €3bn (£2.2bn; $3.4bn) in financial aid to help those displaced by the civil war.

Mr Orban said supporting Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan with such a package would end the mass migration to Europe.

In an interview with Germany's Bild newspaper (in German), Mr Orban said the €3bn fund could be raised by every EU country paying an extra 1% into the budget - or by a general reduction of EU spending by 1%.

Hungary has struggled to cope with some 150,000 migrants that have crossed its borders so far this year and from next week, people who enter the country illegally will be arrested.

There have been tensions between authorities and migrants across Hungary, as thousands try to pass through en route from Greece to countries in northern and western Europe.

In the past few days, aid workers have spoken of "abysmal" conditions for refugees at a camp in Roszke on the Hungarian-Serbian border.

Hungary has insisted it is trying to fulfil its obligations as an EU member and register all new arrivals.

1 Response to “Germany prepares for 40,000 migrants”

  • Hmmmm (18/09/2015, 17:51) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    How many of those are ISIS operatives? Nice way for the group to spread their wings.

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