Germany temporarily reintroduced border controls on its Austrian frontier Sunday to help deal with its huge influx of refugees in the past week, in effect suspending the country’s participation in the system created by the Schengen Agreement, according to the Guardian in the U.K. With an estimated 800,000 refugees expected to enter the nation this year, German officials have complained that the facilities to deal with those fleeing persecution in the Middle East and North Africa are close to the breaking point.
While Germany’s reintroduction of border controls on its Austrian frontier is expected to be temporary, the move has struck a blow at the heart of the European Union’s open-border policy, which allows the free movement of people inside the EU regardless of immigration status or nationality. Meanwhile, there have been discussions within the German government about sending troops to the Austrian border to ensure that refugees do not choose to walk across the frontier while train services are down, according to Der Spiegel newspaper in Germany.
The country’s decision to reintroduce the border controls is designed to give refugee services around the nation a respite from the continual arrival of individuals and families who are in desperate need of help. More than 13,000 refugees arrived at the main train station in Munich Saturday alone.
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) September 13, 2015
While European governments have been generally accepting of the refugees arriving in the EU, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has blamed Germany’s softened refugee policy as the reason many people have been making the perilous journey to Europe.
“These migrants are not coming our way from war zones but from camps in Syria’s neighbors. So these people are not fleeing danger and don’t need to be scared for their lives,” Orban told the Bild newspaper in Germany. European leaders are “living in a dream world,” he said.
Hungary is the first stop in the EU for refugees traveling by way of the Balkans region.