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Thousands of exhausted migrants make it to the promised land: 5,000 refugees arrive in Germany and Austria – as George Osborne calls on Europe to tackle the ‘evil Assad regime and Isis’ 

  • The buses will take them to Austria’s capital Vienna and to Germany, which expects to take in over 800,000 this year
  • They began the 100-mile march to the border after Hungary cancelled international trains heading to the two nations
  • Hungary reversed its hard-line stance on migrants after being ‘overwhelmed by sheer numbers of unwanted visitors’
  • More than 50,000 exhausted migrants entered Hungary last month and a record 3,300 entered country on Thursday 

By

Jay Akbar For Mailonline


Published:
02:29 EST, 5 September 2015

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Updated:
07:16 EST, 5 September 2015

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More than 4,000 exhausted, rain-soaked migrants have entered Austria after Hungary organised buses to take them to the border – and ‘many more’ are expected to follow.

Wrapped in blankets to shield themselves from the pouring rain, thousands climbed off buses on the Hungarian side of the border and walked into Austria where aid workers were waiting with food and hot tea.

Waiting Austrians held signs that read: ‘Refugees welcome.’

Many migrants collapsed on the floor from exhaustion, having traveled thousands of miles from war-torn countries for the chance of a better life in Europe. 

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Nearly there: More than 4,000 exhausted migrants are now waiting for trains in Vienna, Austria, which will take them to Germany 

Nearly there: More than 4,000 exhausted migrants are now waiting for trains in Vienna, Austria, which will take them to Germany 

Next step: Around 500 migrants have arrived at Munich train station on a special train from Austria (pictured)

Next step: Around 500 migrants have arrived at Munich train station on a special train from Austria (pictured)

Journey: Refugees arriving from Middle Eastern countries and Africa Migrants arriving at railway station in Vienna, Austria (pictured)

Journey: Refugees arriving from Middle Eastern countries and Africa Migrants arriving at railway station in Vienna, Austria (pictured)

Transport: Hungary organised buses to take thousands of migrants to the Austrian border - and separate buses then took them to Vienna (pictured)

Transport: Hungary organised buses to take thousands of migrants to the Austrian border – and separate buses then took them to Vienna (pictured)

Finally here: More than 4,000 exhausted, rain-soaked migrants arrived on the Austrian border today, and walk into the country which has agreed to allow asylum seekers to enter

Finally here: More than 4,000 exhausted, rain-soaked migrants arrived on the Austrian border today, and walk into the country which has agreed to allow asylum seekers to enter

First arrivals: Thousands of refugees reached Austria early this morning after busloads left Hungary in a mass exodus after the Austrian and German governments agreed to receive them

First arrivals: Thousands of refugees reached Austria early this morning after busloads left Hungary in a mass exodus after the Austrian and German governments agreed to receive them

Next leg: They were greeted by aid workers who gave them food and water before they boarded special buses which took them to the capital, Vienna

Next leg: They were greeted by aid workers who gave them food and water before they boarded special buses which took them to the capital, Vienna

Everyone welcome: Migrants walk to buses to take them further into Austria after they crossed the border from Hungary

Everyone welcome: Migrants walk to buses to take them further into Austria after they crossed the border from Hungary

Humanitarian: The Austrian Red Cross (pictured) help out as migrants wait on the Hungarian-Austrian border for buses to Vienna

Humanitarian: The Austrian Red Cross (pictured) help out as migrants wait on the Hungarian-Austrian border for buses to Vienna

Newcomers: Hundreds of migrants wait for trains at the Austrian border which will take them to Vienna

Newcomers: Hundreds of migrants wait for trains at the Austrian border which will take them to Vienna

Drained: Many migrants (pictured) collapsed on the floor from exhaustion upon entering Austria - having traveled thousands of miles from war-torn countries
Drained: Many migrants (pictured) collapsed on the floor from exhaustion upon entering Austria - having traveled thousands of miles from war-torn countries

Drained: Many migrants (pictured) collapsed on the floor from exhaustion upon entering Austria – having traveled thousands of miles from war-torn countries

Happy to be there: Migrants looked delighted as they walked across the border into Austria after buses ferried them from Hungary

Happy to be there: Migrants looked delighted as they walked across the border into Austria after buses ferried them from Hungary

Desperate: Carrying small, sleeping children and what little belongings they have, migrants began the 100-mile journey from Budapest to the Austrian border

Desperate: Carrying small, sleeping children and what little belongings they have, migrants began the 100-mile journey from Budapest to the Austrian border

Not welcome: The migrants refused to go to processing centres - as demanded by the government - because they feared they would be deported

Not welcome: The migrants refused to go to processing centres – as demanded by the government – because they feared they would be deported

Almost there: Migrants walk across the Hungarian-Austrian border on foot after their arrival into a transit zone by public bus to the Hungarian border

Almost there: Migrants walk across the Hungarian-Austrian border on foot after their arrival into a transit zone by public bus to the Hungarian border

Moving: Thousands have been flooding into Austria (pictured) today, and German police have said they expect as many as 10,000 refugees to arrive in the country today.

Moving: Thousands have been flooding into Austria (pictured) today, and German police have said they expect as many as 10,000 refugees to arrive in the country today.

Hungry: A migrant child holds up a banana as he crosses the Hungarian-Austrian border on foot near the village of Nickelsdorf

Hungry: A migrant child holds up a banana as he crosses the Hungarian-Austrian border on foot near the village of Nickelsdorf

Happy: A young refugee boy smiles as he arrives on the Hungary-Austria border where buses are taking people to the capital, Vienna

Happy: A young refugee boy smiles as he arrives on the Hungary-Austria border where buses are taking people to the capital, Vienna

Arrivals: Migrants cloaked themselves in blankets to shield themselves from the pouring rain as they arrived on the Hungary-Austria border

Arrivals: Migrants cloaked themselves in blankets to shield themselves from the pouring rain as they arrived on the Hungary-Austria border

Influx: Thousands of migrants arrived at the Austrian border (pictured) this morning and 'many more' are expected to flood in today

Influx: Thousands of migrants arrived at the Austrian border (pictured) this morning and ‘many more’ are expected to flood in today

Stranded: A young girl - presumably one of the migrants who are being ferried to the Austrian border -is cared for by an aid worker on the M1 motorway between Budapest and Vienna

Stranded: A young girl – presumably one of the migrants who are being ferried to the Austrian border -is cared for by an aid worker on the M1 motorway between Budapest and Vienna

German police have said they expect as many as 10,000 refugees to arrive in the country today, and Chancellor Angela Merkel said it would not stop anyone from seeking asylum.

Around 500 migrants have arrived at Munich train station on a special train from Austria.

‘The streams [of people] keep coming,’ said Helmut Marban, the chief of police in Burgenland, Austria, ‘The second 400 are on their way their now. At times the rain has been really heavy… The people are all soaked.’

Austria and Germany both waived the rules of their countries’ asylum systems – pushed to breaking point by the worst refugee crisis in decades – and agreed to let the migrants in. 

‘We’re happy… We’ll all go to Germany,’ said one Syrian man, while another said: ‘Hungary should be fired from the European Union. Such bad treatment.’ 

Osama, 23, from Syria, said: ‘We are very happy that something is happening at last. The next stop is Austria. The children are very tired, Hungary is very bad, we have to go somehow.’

Carrying small, sleeping children and what little belongings they have, they began the 100-mile march to the border overnight after Hungary cancelled international trains and demanded they report to processing centres. 

Hungary reversed its hard-line stance after being ‘overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of unwanted visitors’. 

Determined: Despite the buses taking thousands of migrants and refugees to the Austrian border, many have continued to march the 100-mile route

Determined: Despite the buses taking thousands of migrants and refugees to the Austrian border, many have continued to march the 100-mile route

Long walk: Large numbers of refugees walk along a lane of the M1 motorway near to Nickelsdorf, on the Austria-Hungarian border

Long walk: Large numbers of refugees walk along a lane of the M1 motorway near to Nickelsdorf, on the Austria-Hungarian border

March: Carrying small, sleeping children and what little belongings they have, they began the 100-mile march to the border overnight
March: Carrying small, sleeping children and what little belongings they have, they began the 100-mile march to the border overnight

March: Carrying small, sleeping children and what little belongings they have, they began the 100-mile march to the border overnight

Migration: Dozens of buses are taking thousands of exhausted migrants to the Hungary-Austria border, and many more are expected to travel

Migration: Dozens of buses are taking thousands of exhausted migrants to the Hungary-Austria border, and many more are expected to travel

Leaving: Carrying his exhausted toddler, a man runs to board a bus provided by the Hungarian authorities to take them to the Austrian border 

Leaving: Carrying his exhausted toddler, a man runs to board a bus provided by the Hungarian authorities to take them to the Austrian border 

Almost there: Thousands of migrants entered Austria overnight after Hungary organised buses to take them across the border.

Almost there: Thousands of migrants entered Austria overnight after Hungary organised buses to take them across the border.

Delighted: Migrants wave from a bus as they wake up to a new dawn in East Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary

Delighted: Migrants wave from a bus as they wake up to a new dawn in East Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary

Exhausted: Dozens of double-decker buses will take them to Austria and Germany, according to Burgenland's chief of police

Exhausted: Dozens of double-decker buses will take them to Austria and Germany, according to Burgenland’s chief of police

Jubilant: A migrant boy looks out from a bus bound for Austria and Germany, next to the Keleti train station in Budapest, Hungary

Jubilant: A migrant boy looks out from a bus bound for Austria and Germany, next to the Keleti train station in Budapest, Hungary

Journey: Migrants reportedly yelled, 'Thank you! Thank you!' as the buses took them across the Hungarian border to Austria

Journey: Migrants reportedly yelled, ‘Thank you! Thank you!’ as the buses took them across the Hungarian border to Austria

Moving again: Hungary's government said it would deliver around 100 buses (pictured) to pick up migrants in Budapest and another 1,200 striding down the main highway to Vienna

Moving again: Hungary’s government said it would deliver around 100 buses (pictured) to pick up migrants in Budapest and another 1,200 striding down the main highway to Vienna

Excited: Migrants cheered and yelled 'Thank you!' as buses took them to Austria and Germany, who have agreed to grant them asylum

Excited: Migrants cheered and yelled ‘Thank you!’ as buses took them to Austria and Germany, who have agreed to grant them asylum

It sent dozens of double-decker buses to pick them up from the rain-soaked M1 motorway and take them to Austria’s capital, Vienna, and also to Germany. 

Once they have passed through shelters on the border, the migrants will be put onto a special half-hourly bus service to Vienna and Salzburg, according to Austrian Federal Railway.

Austria’s Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said the plight of migrants stranded in Hungary, now being taken into his country, was a wake up call for Europe.

He said: ‘This has to be an eye opener how messed up the situation in Europe is now. I hope that this serves as a wake up call that (the situation) cannot continue.’

European leaders are in talks to create an EU-wide ‘border protection force’ to deal with the refugee crisis, the Independent has reported.

Under the plans being discussed, the EU – not the member state – would be responsible for deporting ‘economic migrants’.

The Commission will also create a list of so-called ‘safe countries of origin’ and migrants from these nations would be returned home because the EU considers them stable enough.

The list is expected to include all the Balkan States, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Senegal and a number of other African countries.

In many cases, the migrants and refugees arriving in Europe – some from the embattled nation of Syria – have spent months in Turkish refugee camps. 

Exhausted: Thousands began the 100-mile march (pictured) to the border overnight after Hungary cancelled international trains and demanded they report to processing centres

Exhausted: Thousands began the 100-mile march (pictured) to the border overnight after Hungary cancelled international trains and demanded they report to processing centres

Waiting game: A migrants walks past bottled water as he waits for buses bound for Austria, where aid workers are waiting with food and hot tea at the border

Waiting game: A migrants walks past bottled water as he waits for buses bound for Austria, where aid workers are waiting with food and hot tea at the border

Influx: Migrants arrive at the Austrian-Hungarian border station of Hegyeshalom, Hungary, after the country organised buses to take them across the border

Influx: Migrants arrive at the Austrian-Hungarian border station of Hegyeshalom, Hungary, after the country organised buses to take them across the border

On their way: Migrants carry their luggage and small children through a transit zone as they try to find a public bus to the Hungarian border

On their way: Migrants carry their luggage and small children through a transit zone as they try to find a public bus to the Hungarian border

Transit: Local buses drive  migrants from a transit zone to the Hungarian border village Hegyeshalom early this morning in Budapest

Transit: Local buses drive migrants from a transit zone to the Hungarian border village Hegyeshalom early this morning in Budapest

Rising tide: Hungary reversed its hard-line stance after being 'overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of unwanted visitors' and sent dozens of double-decker buses to take them to Austria

Rising tide: Hungary reversed its hard-line stance after being ‘overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of unwanted visitors’ and sent dozens of double-decker buses to take them to Austria

Soaked: Refugees arriving from Hungary walk under the rain at the border with Austria in Nickelsdorf, where thousands have boarded buses to the capital

Soaked: Refugees arriving from Hungary walk under the rain at the border with Austria in Nickelsdorf, where thousands have boarded buses to the capital

Dawn move: Migrants who are entering Austria on foot walk towards the village of Nickelsdorf in early hours this morning

Dawn move: Migrants who are entering Austria on foot walk towards the village of Nickelsdorf in early hours this morning

Resting: Migrants prepare to sleep by the side of the M1 motorway between Budapest and Vienna after marching from Keleti station towards the borde

Resting: Migrants prepare to sleep by the side of the M1 motorway between Budapest and Vienna after marching from Keleti station towards the borde

Tired and hungry: Refugee Zami Elhuseyin, 9, sleeps besides the M1 motorway at night between Budapest and Vienna after marching from Keleti station towards the border

Tired and hungry: Refugee Zami Elhuseyin, 9, sleeps besides the M1 motorway at night between Budapest and Vienna after marching from Keleti station towards the border

Update: A migrant checks his phone before sleeping besides the M1 motorway at night between Budapest and Vienna

Update: A migrant checks his phone before sleeping besides the M1 motorway at night between Budapest and Vienna

Entry allowed: A policeman gestures as a bus of migrants arrives at the Hungarian-Austrian border (pictured)

Entry allowed: A policeman gestures as a bus of migrants arrives at the Hungarian-Austrian border (pictured)

They have taken perilous journeys by boat, train and foot through Greece and the Balkans – and crawled under barbed wire on Hungary’s southern border – to create a new life in Europe.

Austria has offered newcomers asylum opportunities but most say they want to settle in Germany. 

Hungarian authorities have refused to let migrants board trains to the west since Tuesday morning, compounding the build-up of migrants.

The migrants refused to go to processing centres – as demanded by the government – because they feared they would be deported or be detained in Hungary indefinitely.

Government officials said they changed course because Hungary’s systems were becoming overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of unwanted visitors.

GERMANY OPENS ITS DOORS TO ‘ANYONE SEEKING ASYLUM’ AS THOUSANDS POUR IN

Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country will not stop anyone seeking asylum as thousands of migrants left Hungary and made their way westward towards Germany and Austria.

German officials recently predicted that up to 800,000 migrants would arrive by the end of the year, many of them refugees fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Iraq and Eritrea.

‘The right to political asylum has no limits on the number of asylum seekers,’ Ms Merkel said, ‘As a strong, economically healthy country we have the strength to do what is necessary.’

But Ms Merkel repeated her government’s position that migrants who do not meet the criteria for asylum need to be returned to their home countries.

Even prosperous Germany has struggled to meet the demand for additional housing for the tens of thousands of migrants arriving monthly.

Merkel said her government was not planning to raise taxes to pay for the additional cost. But her governing coalition will be meeting on Sunday to discuss how best to cope with the migrant influx.

All welcome: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (pictured) said her country will not stop anyone seeking asylum

All welcome: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (pictured) said her country will not stop anyone seeking asylum

An Iraqi holds a picture of the German Chancelor, Angel Merkel (pictured), during a demonstration in Tahrir square, central Baghdad

An Iraqi holds a picture of the German Chancelor, Angel Merkel (pictured), during a demonstration in Tahrir square, central Baghdad

Ms Merkel said it was touching to see hundreds of migrants chanting ‘Germany, Germany’ at a railway station in Budapest earlier this week.

‘This wasn’t always the case, but I still have to insist on a fair distribution of the burden across all of Europe,’ she was quoted as saying. Germany and some other European countries have called for the creation of special reception centres in Italy and Greece, where migrants can stay while their asylum requests are processed.

Ms Merkel said that would prevent the uncontrolled entry into Europe of people who might pose a security threat.

‘Only this way can the security agencies check whether they have information about certain people,’ she was quoted as saying.

Ms Merkel said she was confident Europe would meet the challenge, adding: ‘This should be possible, because Europe is based on common values, and help for those in need of protection is one of them.’

The chief of staff to Hungary’s prime minister, Janos Lazar, said the ‘surprise’ mass migration was ruining rail services and causing massive traffic jams. 

The migrants set out from Keleti railway station in Budapest after Hungarian authorities blocked them from boarding western-bound trains.

In chaotic scenes overnight, thousands chanting ‘Germany! Germany!’ streamed down the main highway from Budapest to Vienna while others sprinted onto railway tracks in Bicske.

A 51-year-old Pakistani man collapsed around 800m from the station and died after he stumbled as he tried to flee riot police and hit his head on the tracks.  

Departing: Migrants board a train in the village of Nickelsdorf, Hungary, in early hours to head to Salzburg on the German-Austrian border

Departing: Migrants board a train in the village of Nickelsdorf, Hungary, in early hours to head to Salzburg on the German-Austrian border

Exodus: Saturday's pre-dawn move eases immediate pressure on Hungary, which has struggled to manage the flow of thousands of migrants arriving daily

Exodus: Saturday’s pre-dawn move eases immediate pressure on Hungary, which has struggled to manage the flow of thousands of migrants arriving daily

Helping hand: Earlier today, thousands of migrants began marching towards Austria before the Hungarian government decided to send buses to pick them up

Helping hand: Earlier today, thousands of migrants began marching towards Austria before the Hungarian government decided to send buses to pick them up

Heading off: A sign on the bus taking hundreds of migrants from Budapest (pictured) to the Austrian border reads: 'Not in service'

Heading off: A sign on the bus taking hundreds of migrants from Budapest (pictured) to the Austrian border reads: ‘Not in service’

Flowing in: 'The streams [of people] keep coming,' said Helmut Marban, the chief of police in Burgenland, Austria

Flowing in: ‘The streams [of people] keep coming,’ said Helmut Marban, the chief of police in Burgenland, Austria

Crammed: Many of the migrants arriving in Austria and Germany today have made the perilously long journey from the Middle East and through central European countries like Macedonia (pictured)

Crammed: Many of the migrants arriving in Austria and Germany today have made the perilously long journey from the Middle East and through central European countries like Macedonia (pictured)

Long journey: They board overcrowded trains from Macedonia to Serbia, and then crawl under barb wire to cross Hungary's southern border

Long journey: They board overcrowded trains from Macedonia to Serbia, and then crawl under barb wire to cross Hungary’s southern border

Perils: Thousands of migrants are making the perilously long journey through central European nations like Serbia and Macedonia (pictured) to make it to Germany and Austria

Perils: Thousands of migrants are making the perilously long journey through central European nations like Serbia and Macedonia (pictured) to make it to Germany and Austria

The extraordinary scenes prompted Austria and Germany to announce that they would let the refugees into the country after Hungary took the decision to provide buses for the exhausted migrants. 

Today’s pre-dawn move eases immediate pressure on Hungary which has struggled to manage the flow of thousands of migrants arriving daily from non-EU member Serbia.

Around 50,000 migrants entered Hungary last month via the western Balkans, with a record 3,300 arriving on Thursday, according to United Nations figures.

Hungary responded with tough new anti-immigration measures, including criminalising making unauthorised border crossings and damaging razor-wire fences recently erected along the border with Serbia.

Right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban sparked anger by saying his country did not want more Muslim migrants and warning that Europe would lose its Christian identity. 

Poor camp conditions and slow registration procedures for asylum-seekers appear to have contributed to rising tensions at Hungary’s refugee facilities.

Earlier Friday, about 300 people had broken through a fence at a Hungarian refugee camp and clashed with police, while another 300 escaped from a collection point for migrants intercepted at the border.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres warned the 28-member EU faced a ‘defining moment’ and called for the mandatory resettlement of 200,000 refugees by EU states.

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