Refugee chaos in Budapest
Thousands of refugees are stranded outside Budapest's Keleti train station, waiting to be allowed to continue their journey westwards. The Hungarian police allowed people to travel by train to Austria and Germany on Monday, then closed the station on Tuesday. Europe is witnessing apocalyptic conditions, some commentators worry. Others are heartened by local demonstrations of support for the refugees.
Scenes from a disaster film
Watching the scenes taking place at Keleti train station in Budapest and on Hungary's border with Austria, the left-liberal daily Népszabadság feels reminded of the worst doomsday scenarios: "It can't help but bring to mind a mediocre disaster film when a twenty- to thirty-kilometre-long traffic jam forms on the motorway to Austria [because of the border contols]. Or just think of the powerful image of helpless police officers facing desperate refugees [at Budapest railway station]. Or of how many refugees feel forced to say they are Syrians so as to be taken in in Germany. Or of how volunteers are organising food for the hungry. Or of how the EU decision-makers are moaning about quotas of a few hundred people while tens of thousands continue to flood towards Europe."
Austrians showing their best side
Many refugees enter Austria on their way from Hungary to Germany or beyond. Austria's reaction to the newcomers is exemplary, writes the liberal daily Kurier: "At Vienna's Westbahnhof train station residents of the city spontaneously emptied supermarket shelves to provide newly arrived refugees with the basics. A supermarket distributed a whole lorry full of goods to the refugees for free. [Railway company] ÖBB and the police are pragmatically dispensing with a lot of the red tape. A Facebook appeal got 20,000 people on to the streets to protest for more compassion. Private cars loaded with relief aid pull up every day outside [the refugee centre] in Traiskirchen. In many places relief campaigns are springing up: help rather than incite hatred; improvise rather than complain; treat refugees as equals rather than look down on them. … A great wave of support is spreading through Austria. This small country is on its best behaviour."
Germany assumes pioneering role on refugees
Refugees demonstrated outside Budapest's Keleti train station to be allowed to board trains and head for destinations outside the country after police closed down the station on Tuesday. They chanted the words "Merkel" and "Germany" while doing so. This testifies to the leading role Germany has assumed in the refugee crisis, the liberal conservative daily Corriere della Sera writes: "It will probably be impossible to reach a consensus on an open refugee policy in the EU. Hungary is going its own way and many other Eastern European countries don't see themselves in a position to take in large numbers of refugees. … Yet Berlin has now taken the initiative, perhaps a little late, and the chancellor seems more determined than ever not to give in on asylum law. … The rest of Europe should take note of this. Never before has Germany so explicitly been given the leading role it must inevitably assume despite its own reluctance to do so."