Wed, 02 Dec 2020

BERLIN/BODRUM - Some 40,000 migrants are expected to arrive in Germany during Sunday and Monday, officials say - double the number who entered the country last weekend.

Munich received another 3,600 migrants on Saturday morning and there are concerns about how the area will cope with another large influx and around 4,000 troops have been deployed in Germany for logistical support.

The country has become an attractive destination for Syrian refugees since it waived EU rules that require asylum seeker to make their claim in the first European Union member state they reach.

The government announced in August that it would deal with Syrian asylum applications regardless of where the migrants first arrived in the EU.

Tens of thousands of largely Syrian refugees have been making their way from Turkey, through the Balkans and Hungary to reach Austria, Germany and Sweden.

Under international law, refugees become migrants after leaving the first safe country that accepts them. Many of the migrants entering the EU are refugees that have been living in squalid conditions in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

Migrants have also been arriving in Macedonia from Greece, hoping to get to Germany and Austria through Hungary. More buses were reported to be making their way towards the Hungarian border over the weekend.

The migrant crisis has caused deep divisions within the European Union over how to deal with the influx of people. The European Commission has plans for obligatory quotas to share out 120,000 additional asylum seekers among 25 member countries, but many eastern EU states oppose such plans.

The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia oppose being forced to take in migrants.

Hungary in particular, which has struggled to cope with some 150,000 migrants who have crossed its borders so far this year, has been criticised over its treatment of the refugees.

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, in an interview with German media this week, condemned a decision to place migrants on a train destined for a processing camp in Hungary, after leading them to believe they were heading for the Austrian border.

"Putting refugees on trains in the belief that they are going somewhere totally different awakens memories of our continent's darkest time,'' he was quoted as saying in an apparent reference to the Nazis' treatment of Jews.

Hungary responded by summoning the Austrian ambassador to the foreign ministry. The government dismissed the Austrian chancellor's comments as "utterly unworthy of a 21st Century European leader".

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has called on the European Union to give Syria's neighbours US $3.4-billion in financial aid to help those displaced by the civil war. He said supporting Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan would end the mass migration to Europe.

Meanwhile, the honorary French consul in Bodrum, Turkey has been suspended after she was found to be selling boats and lifejackets to migrants planning to attempt to reach Greece from the country.

Footage secretly filmed by France 2 TV shows Francoise Olcay selling dinghies and life jackets to migrants. The UN says 124,000 people reached Greece's shores by sea in the first seven months of 2015.

Olcay did not deny selling the items, but said they would be bought elsewhere if she did not sell them.

Admitting that she was taking part in the trade, she alleged that local Turkish authorities were also involved.

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