Europe, World

Germany Imposes Border Controls Amid Migrant Crisis

With huge numbers of migrants crossing the Hungarian border and moving west, Germany had turned out to be the most welcoming of all countries in Europe. However, now all of a sudden, temporary border controls were imposed on Sunday that implemented spot checks in cars and cut off transportation through rail from Austria. The move by Germany came just a day before European ministers were to gather in Brussels for discussing plans to distribute the hundreds of thousands of refugees all over Europe. A lot of governments, especially those in Eastern Europe, were not happy at being forced to accept more migrants than they wanted.

This is not just the latest, but also the thorniest crisis that has tested the willingness of Europe to work together for solving huge problems amidst the rising population and the Euro-skeptic and nationalist movements throughout the continent. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government imposed these restrictions and they can be seen as a strong hint if not an outright message to other members of the EU that Germany is getting tired of handling most of the burden of the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe to occur in decades without any cooperation or assistance from other nations.

For others, this is worrisome because how will Europe be able to deal with this ceaseless refugee emergency if the most powerful and richest of the 28-member European Union has reached its limit? According to the German Press Agency, when news of the new restrictions reached the main station in Salzburg, Austria, hundreds of migrants were removed from the blocked trains and were taken to a nearby garage. Thomas de Mazière, the interior minister said that limiting the number of people coming into the country was essential after two weeks as they were struggling to accommodate the new arrivals.

He added that one of the most amazing achievements in recent decades have been passport-free travel between member nations, they can impose border restrictions during times of national security and crisis. But, he admitted that this wasn’t going to solve the problem. Ms. Merkel also spoke with the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, on Sunday. Last week, he had proposed a plan for relocating 160,000 migrants who are waiting at the front lines of Hungary, Italy and Greece. The home affairs ministers of the bloc will discuss the proposal on Monday in Brussels, which includes 40,000 migrants covered by another plan that had fallen through as nations refused to accept them.

Leaders from countries like Czech Republic and Poland are still in objection of mandatory quotas, but are willing to accept new arrivals if it is voluntary. Countless number of migrants have been coming into Europe for two years from war-affected areas in the Middle East such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Eritrea and other parts of Africa. Most of them attempt to go to Germany, but others also attempt to reach Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands and other nations. Previously, the migrants were travelling across the Mediterranean Sea from Libya, but a short boat ride from Turkey has become a top choice as the former route has become quite dangerous. 

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