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Germany: Austria's Handling of Refugees Is 'Out of Order'

  • VOA News

Migrants arrive at the border between Austria and Germany near Kollerschlag, Austria, Oct. 28, 2015. Germany has implemented a plan to streamline the asylum process for those fleeing civil war, such as Syrians, to settle them more quickly.

Migrants arrive at the border between Austria and Germany near Kollerschlag, Austria, Oct. 28, 2015. Germany has implemented a plan to streamline the asylum process for those fleeing civil war, such as Syrians, to settle them more quickly.

Germany’s Interior Minister sharply criticized Austria for sending migrants and refugees to its border without prior notice and under the cover of night.

Speaking to reporters in Berlin Wednesday, Thomas de Maize said Austria's handling of refugees is "out of order," while the number of migrants entering Germany has "risen very significantly in recent days."

"The number of refugees has risen very significantly in recent days because of a backlog on the Balkan route," de Maize said. "Thanks to a huge effort, we managed to take in the asylum seekers and refugees in Bavaria and to distribute them further (across Germany). The behavior of Austria in recent days was out of order."

But he said the two countries have agreed to cooperate better.

"We observed that refugees, without warning and after dark, were being driven to the German border without any provisions or forethought. There were intensive contacts. Austria agreed yesterday to return to an orderly process. I expect this to occur immediately," de Maize said.

He also said many Afghans reaching Germany will most likely be sent back to their country.

"The people who come from Afghanistan cannot expect that they will be able to stay,” de Maize said, adding that Afghanistan's government has agreed with Berlin that citizens should leave and help rebuild the country.

Germany has implemented a plan for expediting the asylum process for those fleeing war, such as Syrians, but also to send home more rapidly those whose cases do not warrant asylum.

German federal police officers guide a group of migrants on their way after crossing the border between Austria and Germany in Wegscheid near Passau, Germany, Oct. 28, 2015.

German federal police officers guide a group of migrants on their way after crossing the border between Austria and Germany in Wegscheid near Passau, Germany, Oct. 28, 2015.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Lietner said Austria will build a fence along its border with Slovenia to slow the tide of migrants crossing into the country.

Mikl-Lietner said the fence will ensure controlled, orderly entry into Austria, not to keep migrants out altogether.

However, she did not present a time frame or budget for the plan.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reports that more than 700,000 people have arrived in Europe this year, fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

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