What’s the skinny?
Trains coming into Germany from Austria were temporarily suspended in an effort to curb the on-going European migrant crisis. This comes in response to the government decision to implement new border controls between the German state, Italy and Austria. In a news conference Sunday, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters the aim of these border controls are “to limit the influx” of refugees entering Germany “in some order.” Stressing safety measures, Minister de Maiziere reassured that this move was within the Schengen Agreement. Trains between Germany and Austria were halted for 12 hours until 03:00 GMT on Monday.
Give me the rundown:
- The Schengen Agreement, June 14, 1985, was founded by multiple European states to open borders between their countries. The agreement requires participating European countries to allow for the free access of movement without a visa. However, it does allow for temporary suspension under necessary circumstances.
- Germany was within legal right of the agreement to temporary stop trains from entering.
- The migrant crisis of Europe has been in the headline over the past few months, but has been an on-going issue since Mediterranean Sea arrivals began to rise in 2013, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
- In a press release on September 4, 2015, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres stated, “This is primarily a refugee crisis, not only a migration phenomenon.”
- According to UNHCR, many of these refugees are coming from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Germany has received the highest number of asylum applications in Europe as of July 2015.
- 2015 estimates show 366,402 refugees and migrants have enter Europe by sea.
What is the bottom line?
Germany’s tactics are in response to the record number of asylum seekers arriving to their country and receiving aid. The temporary postponement of trains from Austria showed the German government’s adherence to the Dublin Regulation, which requires asylum seekers to register within the first European country that they enter. It then becomes the responsibility of that country to process and decide the outcome of their applications. Much of the recent inpouring of migrants to Germany comes from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s brief decision to suspend such regulations.
In an effort to control the current migrant crisis, the European Commission has proposed to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers between the 25 European Union member states. Germany (who has been hit the hardest) is calling on other members within the union to honor commitments and further assist in relieving this matter.
According to the BBC, Germany