Europe’s migrant crisis: Roundup, September 15

Hours after a new law to stop refugees from crossing illegally came into force, Budapest has declared a state of emergency on its southern border. On Monday, more than 9000 people crossed into the country, Deutsche Welle reported on September 15.

Hungary is to deploy the army to help guard its border with Serbia as it declared a “state of emergency” in two southern countries on Tuesday, to deal with the refugee crisis.

* Reports suggest at least 16 people have already been arrested and the number is expected to rise, as Hungary enforces its new law, euronews said on September 15.

* Germany’s decision to implement border restrictions has not stopped the flow of migrants into the country, which is now taking extraordinary measures to deal with the massive influx, the Voice of America said on September 15.

German officials said they had taken at least 1,000 undocumented people into custody at the border crossing with Austria on the main rail and highway route between Vienna and Munich.

In an unprecedented step, German police boarded trains and checked documents of passengers entering from Austria and Hungary. Hundreds of migrants and refugees, mostly from Syria, were escorted off the trains at Freilassing and put in a holding area where they were called, one by one, to be fingerprinted, registered, and boarded on buses for transfer to other parts of Germany.

* The Czech Republic might consider resuming border checks, which Germany has done along its border with Austria, if the numbers of refugees detained on its soil considerably rose, Chamber of Deputies chairman Jan Hamáček told the Czech News Agency on September 14, according to an item on the Prague Post website.

* In Bulgaria’s capital Sofia, close to 30 illegal migrants were detained by an operation by the city’s police department. They were detained at various locations in the capital as well as in taxis in which they had been travelling.

Many said that they were from Syria, in a bid to get refugee status easier, Bulgarian National Television said. However, they were being questioned to establish their nationality. This is the latest in a series of operations by Sofia police against illegal migration.

* There is no probability of a migrant redistribution centre being opened in Bulgaria, Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov said on September 15.

Bulgaria was insisting that such centres should be opened outside the borders of the European Union, Mitov told reporters, adding that this was the stance of most EU member countries.

* Bulgarian Border Police units from the Malko Turnovo checkpoint arrested a Bulgarian man and detained 47 migrants, none of whom had identity documents, on September 14, the Interior Ministry said.

Police arrested the Bulgarian near the village of Krushevats in the Sozopol municipality at the Black Sea coast after he failed to explain satisfactorily what he was doing in a border area, the statement said. A tracker dog then found the group of 47 foreigners in a wooded area.

Forty-four said that they were from Iraq and the remaining three said that they were from Syria. The group was held pending investigations into their identities.

The Border Police established that the group was led by five Iraqis. After crossing the border into Bulgaria, they had been met by the Bulgarian who had provided food and water and took them into the country. The five Iraqis and the Bulgarian are to be charged with people-trafficking. The other members of the group are being held at a Migration Directorate centre in Elhovo.


Photo: Bulgarian Interior Ministry press centre.
Photo: Bulgarian Interior Ministry press centre.

* UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres has told the European Parliament that Serbia needs to receive “immediate assistance”, Serbian website B92 said, quoting news agency Tanjug.

This assistance concerns providing care to the refugees on the border with Hungary, Tanjug reported on Tuesday.

Guterres said that “now that Hungary has closed its border, Serbia will inevitably become the center of the refugee crisis,” and suggested that the EU should immediately redirect programs for providing care and enabling displacement for refugees who intended to enter Hungary through Serbia.

* Serbia will not accept refugees that Hungary wants to send back, “even if we have to deploy soldiers to the border,” said a Labour Ministry state secretary, B92 reported on September 15.








The Sofia Globe staff

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