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Refugee Wave Continues As Hungarian Minister Quits

  • RFE/RL

A migrant peeks through a gap in the border fence before entering Hungarian territory along the Hungarian-Serbian border, near Roszke, on September 7.

A migrant peeks through a gap in the border fence before entering Hungarian territory along the Hungarian-Serbian border, near Roszke, on September 7.

Scuffles broke out between Hungarian security officials and angry asylum seekers wanting to go to Germany as thousands of refugees and migrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries continued streaming into Europe.

Hundreds of migrants broke through police lines on September 7 near Hungary's southern border with Serbia and marched along a highway toward Budapest.

Hungarian Defense Minister Csaba Hende resigned the same day, with Prime Minister Viktor Orban accepting his resignation after a meeting on the progress toward building a 4-meter high fence along the Serbian border.

An estimated 167,000 migrants have entered Hungary illegally so far this year.

In Germany, officials said nearly 4,000 migrants arrived in Munich, mostly by train, and another 1,500 were sent to other cities on September 7.

The German government said it is expecting to receive some 800,000 claims from asylum seekers in 2015.

A home for refugees in central Germany was destroyed by fire overnight on September 7. Five refugees were injured in the blaze.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the flow of migrants into Germany will "occupy and change" the country in the coming years.

At a press conference on September 7, the chancellor said, “We want the change to be positive, and we believe we can accomplish that."

Her ruling coalition has agreed to 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in aid funding for the surge of migrants entering the country.

But Merkel called for a "solidarity-based and fair distribution of refugees" and said the "Europe based on values must show its face."

Meanwhile in Paris, French President Francois Hollande said the European Commission was preparing to unveil a proposal for mandatory quotas for EU states to relocate 120,000 refugees, "which for France will represent 24,000 people.”

He also proposed to host an international conference on the crisis.

Orban Defiant

Hungary has accused Berlin of encouraging the influx of migrants, and is pressing ahead with plans to tighten border controls.

Addressing a gathering of Hungarian diplomats in Budapest on September 7, Orban said that "as long as we can't defend Europe's outer borders, it is not worth talking about how many people we can take in."

Orban also said that those migrants trying to reaching Germany were seeking a "German life" not physical safety, adding that if the stream continued it would endanger Europe's "Christian welfare states."

The remarks come as thousands of migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq continue to arrive in Germany and Austria -- the majority of them traveling through Hungary where they were stranded for days.

Hungary says it is setting up a new refugee camp on its border with Serbia close to where it has been reinforcing a newly erected border fence in a bid to stem the arrival of refugees who have traveled through Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia to reach Hungary’s EU border.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa, and the BBC
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