Germany will introduce temporary border checks on the Austrian frontier in a bid to limit the influx of refugees, the interior minister said Sunday.
The measure might lead to disruption of railway services, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said without giving further details.
Germany and Austria agreed over a week ago to let in refugees who had gathered in Hungary, saying it was a one-time measure to ease an emergency. Still, the influx has continued and German officials said over the weekend that the speed of the arrivals was straining the country’s ability to provide accommodation.
Hungarian police say more than 186,000 people have passed through Hungary from Serbia this year en route to Austria and the refugees’ major destination, Germany, which says it has taken in more than 50,000 newcomers in the past week alone.
About 450,000 refugees have arrived in Germany this year. The country is expecting at least 800,000 in 2015 — by far the most in the 28-nation EU.
Freelance journalist Lucian Kim, reporting from Berlin, told CBC News there are reports that Germany officials also plan to suspend train travel between Austria and Germany for 24 hours.
“It’s a significant move because the European Union prided itself on borderless travel,” Kim said, regarding the border checks.
The news comes amid growing evidence that Munich, as the main entry point for the new arrivals, is struggling to cope with the latest wave of refugees, who appear to be largely from Syria.
“About 13,000 arrived just yesterday,” said Kim. “Since the start of the month, it has been 63,000.”
Earlier Sunday, de Maiziere said refugees coming from Syria and other conflict zones would not get to choose what country they go to under a proposed European Union quota system to share the burden of new arrivals.
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