aaron • April 22, 2020 • Comments Off on Shortly before, unrest had spread among the refugees in the underground car park when around 20 soldiers approached to provide support.
A tumult did not arise.
Shortly before, unrest had spread among the refugees in the underground car park when around 20 soldiers approached to provide support. Some refugees reacted insecure and fearful to the uniformed soldiers. But they were quickly calmed down. “I said to them: the armed forces are only there to help,” said ex-regional councilor Doraja Eberle in an APA interview. Together with the Red Cross, Caritas, the Maltese and numerous other volunteers, the founder of the humanitarian aid organization “Farmers Help Farmers” took care of the welfare of the refugees in the emergency quarters in the station garage.
© APA / NEUMAYR / MMV Large rush at Salzburg Central Station
Rail traffic from Salzburg to Germany was suspended again early on Monday afternoon. This was announced by ÖBB spokesman Michael Braun to the APA. The reason is the German border controls in the current refugee crisis and the associated “considerable delays”. Trains from Vienna go to Salzburg, “from there onward travel is not possible until further notice”.
The situation could change again at any time, emphasized Braun. On the night of Monday, rail traffic between Germany and Austria was also suspended. In the morning, sections of the route also had to be closed because there were always people on the tracks.
The City of Vienna has set up a day center for refugee families at Vienna’s Westbahnhof. In cooperation with the Wiener Kinderfreunde and the garage operator WIPARK, a play area was created on the third floor of the garage at Westbahnhof – called “connect.family.day.center”. This was announced by the office of the responsible city councilor Christian Oxonitsch (SPÖ) on Monday.
According to the broadcast, the project was implemented in cooperation with the Vienna Refugee Coordination, the ÖBB and the emergency services at the train station. It should help ease the situation on the platforms, it said. On a total of 2,500 square meters there are, among other things, supply stations, relaxation areas, changing stations, quiet corners and large play areas for children. The day center is open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight.
4,500 refugees arrived on Monday in southern Burgenland in the districts of Güssing and Jennersdorf, and up to 10,000 are expected, said State Office Director Ronald Reiter at a press conference in Heiligenkreuz. Here the people were received, looked after and should be brought to quarters by buses, especially in Styria.
© APA / Roland Schlager In addition to Nickelsdorf, Heiligenkreuz is now the second hotspot
Governor Hans Niessl (SPÖ) had made himself an impression of the situation in Heiligenkreuz before the press conference: “We have the impression that the Hungarians are trying to set their refugee positions to zero as far as possible.” The refugees from our neighboring country were brought by bus to the border, which was then crossed on foot at the Heiligenkreuz Business Park.123essay Many people did not want to wait for the onward transport, but set off on foot. Up to ten kilometers away you could see refugees on the road towards Fürstenfeld. The actual border crossing at Heiligenkreuz was largely not affected by the influx of refugees.
Niessl called for the armed forces to provide assistance quickly and was outraged that his request nine months ago, as well as the temporary and random border controls proposed by him at the time, had not only been rejected, but in some cases also made ridiculous. He received support from his Provincial Councilor Norbert Darabos (SPÖ), who described the border controls as important. “Austria cannot be the buffer between Germany and Hungary.”
Germany was the pioneer in opening the border last week, and now it is the pioneer in reintroducing border controls under the Schengen Agreement. Not only Austria, also Slovakia are introducing temporary border controls based on the Berlin model and Poland has already announced that it will make use of the option.
The consequences of reintroducing border controls in Europe cannot yet be foreseen. It is clear that this would have massive effects on the internal market and would also further weaken confidence in Europe’s ability to act.
According to Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP), Austria will begin with controls at the border with Hungary. “It’s about the next few days to carry out these border controls here,” she said on Monday before a meeting with her EU counterparts in Brussels. “We keep it open as to which border crossings we mainly do. We will in any case start as soon as possible, directly at the Austro-Hungarian border,” said Mikl-Leitner.
© APA / Martin Hirsch
“It is simply a signal that there is a great common European response,” said Mikl-Leitner. Quick answers are needed here because no single state can give this answer and manage these migration flows. She hoped for a quick meeting of the EU heads of state and government. “We need a concrete solution today rather than tomorrow,” added the Interior Minister.
Mikl-Leitner does not expect a decision from today’s special meeting of interior ministers in Brussels. “Today there can only be one strong political signal. A decision can only be made at the beginning of October. Hopefully everyone can now see that we can only work together, that we only have two alternatives, that Europe can fail or that we can tackle it together and emerge stronger from this situation. “
FPÖ boss Heinz-Christian Strache was “more than concerned” in view of the current development of the refugee situation on Monday. He also identified one culprit: “The federal government has failed miserably at all levels,” he said at a press conference. Therefore, the FPÖ wants a special session of the National Council and a motion of no confidence in the entire government.
In addition, they want to file an application for ministerial indictment against Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP) and examine the same against Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann (SPÖ). A request should also be made to convene the national security council, as “danger is imminent,” said Strache. He also renewed his call for the borders to be closed completely: “Of course the borders have to be closed, that should have happened weeks and months ago.”
The planned assistance deployment of the army was “late, but” a step in the right direction, which should also have happened months ago, said the FPÖ chief. In any case, it should now be questioned critically whether it is not a “half-hearted” measure and what is happening to those refugees who are apprehended at the border and have no right to asylum.
All long-distance trains between eastern and western Austria were diverted around Monday noon due to the strong flow of refugees on the inner-Austrian railway line via Zell am See. On the “corridor route” from Salzburg to Kufstein in Germany there were always people near the tracks or on the rails, the ÖBB announced. The decision was made for security reasons.
“The regulation applies until further notice and affects all trains that travel from Eastern Austria to Innsbruck, Feldkirch, Bregenz and Zurich and back,” the broadcast continued. Although this measure means an up to 90 minutes longer journey time for the train drivers, the arrival at the destination station is more predictable for the passengers. The ÖBB could better control the use and circulation of the trains.
The alternative to rerouting the trains would be repeated line closures in the affected section, which would lead to delays and poor reliability. All trains on the Vienna-Salzburg-Munich route and beyond run on schedule via Salzburg to Germany. After the border, due to border controls by the German authorities, travel time up to 50 minutes longer can now be expected, informed the ÖBB.
In Nickelsdorf, the influx of refugees coming from Hungary to Austria does not stop: “Unfortunately, we are not taking people away from here at the usual pace. It is stalling, so to speak,” said police spokesman Gerald Pangl on Monday morning. You hardly dare to give any more estimates about the number of people waiting. There are now more than 7,000. At first it was not foreseeable when the bus transport would be fully resumed.
A special train with around 500 people left for Vienna. It was not known whether Vienna is also the destination. A single bus with refugees has also left: “The smaller quarters that were offered yesterday are now being filled,” for example in parsonages. “There are constant conversations and you try to free accommodation in all possible directions or places where you can put people at least once for the time being.” The waiting people are still very disciplined, despite hours of waiting.
From Hungary you can only hear when another special train is arriving, and only for a very short time. So far, there is no official information about which stores are really being emptied or opened and how large the expected influx is. When the rush will peak cannot be said at the moment, said Pangl.
The German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel expects up to a million refugees to arrive in Germany this year. There is much to suggest that the German government’s previous forecast of 800,000 refugees in 2015 cannot be kept. Germany had “had to experience in the last few days that, even with the best will in the world, our reception capacities were reaching their limits – especially with regard to the speed of the influx of refugees,” wrote Gabriel. The capacities for accommodation are “almost exhausted”.
An “unforeseeable exceptional situation” had occurred, which made it necessary to temporarily return to border controls, Gabriel continued. “It is not about closing the borders or even suspending the basic right to asylum,” emphasized the SPD leader. “Everyone who applies for asylum on German soil is allowed to stay with us until a decision has been made on their application.” The SPD hope “that we only need the border controls for a short time”.
© APA / dpa / Nigel Treblin Sigmar Gabriel hopes for only brief border controls
Gabriel urged a European solution to the refugee crisis. “Some of our partners even openly refuse such a solution,” he criticized. “No country can take on the reception and accommodation of the refugees on its own. It is necessary that we make this clear to our neighbors.”
As announced, the armed forces began their assistance operation on Monday morning in the care of stranded refugees in the area of Salzburg’s main train station. Nine men each supported the Red Cross and Caritas during the operation, as could be seen in a local APA inspection. In the afternoon the field kitchen should also be set up and food prepared.
Salzburg’s mayor, Heinz Schaden, had already called for assistance from the army on Saturday, because the auxiliaries were at the end of their tether after more than a week in action. On that day alone, according to the police, a little more than 8,000 refugees were brought to Germany in trains via Salzburg. On Sunday, Governor Wilfried Haslauer and Salzburg military commander Heinz Hufler agreed on the support mission.
The further development was unclear for the assistants in Salzburg on Monday morning. At the moment, a maximum of around 1,500 beds are available in Mozart’s city for the short-term care of refugees: a maximum of 1,000 in the area of the train station – especially in the parking garage – itself, from Monday afternoon a further 400 in an abandoned factory hall in the Kasern district, and around 100 in the Islamic Federation.
The Federal Government has granted Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP) a request for assistance from the Armed Forces. This was announced by Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann (SPÖ) and Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner (ÖVP) at a press conference convened at short notice. The focus of support is on humanitarian aid at home, but the soldiers are also supposed to carry out personal checks.
© APA / Hans Punz Chancellor Faymann emphasized the humanitarian character of the mission
The corresponding government resolution should be available within the next two to three hours and will include a deployment of 2,200 soldiers. For the time being, the focus will be in Burgenland, but in the further course it is also possible to use it on the southern border. In view of the uncontrolled influx of refugees to Austria, countermeasures must be taken, said the Vice Chancellor and ÖVP boss. The aid structures and the Austrian population should not be overwhelmed.
It is important to take up Germany’s signal, emphasized Mitterlehner. “If Germany introduces border controls, Austria must do the same.” This is also a “clear signal to those affected that the disorderly transition across the border can no longer take place like this.” It is important to carry out this task with sensitivity, and not with barbed wire or water cannons, said the Vice Chancellor. The Schengen rules on free travel in the EU would not be suspended. “This is a strengthening of control within the framework of Schengen,” he emphasized. “Each country can do the controls for ten days.”
The blockade of the A4 border crossing in Nickelsdorf was lifted shortly before 10 a.m., Asfinag spokesman Walter Motschnig announced at the request of the APA. The Ostautobahn was closed at 8:45 a.m. There was a traffic jam of up to four kilometers, which had already cleared around 10 a.m., Motschnig said.