Crowds cheer for refugees at train stations in Germany and Austria
Germany and Austria caution that the influx cannot be sustained
Amnesty International decries conditions at Hungarian border
“May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe host a family, starting from my diocese of Rome,” Francis said at the end of his Angelus prayers in Rome.
“The two parishes in the Vatican these days will welcome two families of refugees.”
The Pope’s urging came as more than 12,000 migrants poured into Austria on Sunday, the Interior Ministry said, arriving at train stations to applause, cheers and pats on the back from Austrians eager to help them.
There were similar scenes at train stations in Germany. In Saalfeld, a crowd of locals stood on the platform clapping and singing in English, “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here” as migrants arrived.
German patience tried
Germany is attractive to refugees because of its robust economy, strong democracy and long history of taking in refugees.
The government has said it will accept 800,000 applications for asylum from refugees. A poll released by broadcaster ARD on Thursday found 88% of Germans willing to donate clothes or money to refugees, and 67% willing to volunteer to help them.
Some 5,000 migrants arrived on Sunday at the train station in Munich, according to police there. The country’s interior ministry said around 8,000 arrived in southern Germany the day before.
After arriving, the people are registered, fingerprinted and brought to shelters or temporary housing such as university dorms or even shipping containers that have been converted into living spaces.
The Interior Ministry cautions, however, that the country cannot continue accepting refugees at the current pace.
“The great helpfulness that Germany has shown in these last weeks and months should not be worn thin,” the ministry said in a statement Sunday. It called for all European countries to work together and share responsibility.
“Only if that is guaranteed can Germany continue its do its part in helping the large number of asylum-seekers,” the statement read.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said as much Saturday, telling his European counterparts that Germany’s acceptance of the thousands fleeing conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan must not be the practice in the coming days, according to the website of the German newspaper Die Zeit.
Austria winds down support
Like Germany, Austria also wants to see a gradual reduction in the …Read More