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Migrants Continue To Stream Into Germany

  • RFE/RL

Migrants walk to board a train to Germany at a railway station in Vienna on September 5.

Migrants walk to board a train to Germany at a railway station in Vienna on September 5.

Thousands of migrants, many from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, continued to arrive in Germany on September 6, the majority of them traveling through Austria from Hungary, where they had been stranded for days.

German officials said that 11,000 asylum seekers had arrived on September 5 and 10,000 more were expected to arrive on September 6.

A convoy of around 140 vehicles filled with food and water left Vienna to distribute aid and collect migrants who were on their way to the Austrian border.

Hungary had been preventing migrants from traveling by train to Austria and Germany for days, saying it was obliged to register them.

Austria said it had agreed with Germany to allow the migrants to pass, waiving asylum rules that require them to register in the first EU country they reach.

However, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said on September 6 that Austria is planning to phase out the emergency measures that have allowed thousands of migrants to freely enter Austria and then make their way to Germany.

Hungary, Austria, and Germany have said that the decision to allow migrants through is to avoid a humanitarian crisis and will not set a precedent.

"Now, step by step, we must move away from emergency measures to lawful and humane normality," Faymann said.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has called on every European parish and religious community to host one refugee family each in a gesture of solidarity.

"I appeal to the parishes, the religious communities, the monasteries and sanctuaries of all Europe to...take in one family of refugees," he said after his customary Sunday address at the Vatican on September 6.

"Every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, take in one family," the pope said, to applause from the crowd at St. Peter's Square.

The pope said two parishes in the Vatican will take in a family of refugees each in the coming days.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on September 6 that his country will take more refugees from Syria.

But Abbott said on September 6 that the increase in Syrian refugees will not boost the overall intake of refugees that Australia already takes from around the world.

His decision came after pressure from within his own party.

The prime minister did not give a specific figure but said the focus will be on taking more people from persecuted minorities who are in refugee camps in the Middle East.

Australia took 13,750 refugees from around the world from July 2014 to June 2015. Of those, 4,400 of were from Syria and Iraq.

The total annual intake of refugees is due to increase to 18,750 by 2018.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has said that the world and especially European countries have a “humanitarian and historic duty” to do more to help the migrants that arrive at their borders.

"We are glad some European countries have taken positive measures to save the displaced immigrants and we hope that other EU countries would join this trend," Rohani said in remarks published on his website on September 6.

During a meeting with Hungary’s new ambassador, Janos Kuac, in Tehran, Rohani also said that Iran is home to more migrants from neighboring countries than any other country in the region.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said that Hungary does not want Muslim migrants and warned Europe would lose its Christian identity.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu criticized what he called the “ridiculously small” share of refugees that the EU is accepting.

Turkey has taken more than 2 million refugees from war-torn Syria and Iraq, Davutoglu wrote for the September 7 edition of Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily.

He also said that there is a “convenient reflex” to place the refugee problems on Turkey and build a “Christian fortress Europe.”

The majority of the 4 million or so people who fled the conflict and hardship in Syria now live in crowded refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon.

Davutoglu also said that Turkey was prepared to cooperate with its European partners on immigration.

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