Austrian officials have stopped a Munich-bound train close to its Hungarian border. Hungarian authorities allowed the refugees to board in Budapest, despite many not having the required visas to travel in the EU.
A police spokesman in Vienna said around 300 to 400 refugees were transferred to a regional train, heading for the Austrian capital Vienna. Many of those on board were among roughly 2,000 refugees who had been stranded in Budapest for days.
There were scenes of confusion on the platforms at Budapest train station earlier on Wednesday as hundreds of migrants, many of whom had fled from Syria, rushed to board the Munich-bound train. Hungarian authorities had initially refused to let the train leave due to overcrowding and a lack of legal tickets from many of the passengers.
Authorities in Vienna are now checking whether the refugees on board had already applied for asylum in Hungary. Migrants found to have already registered at a refugee processing center in Hungary would be returened to Budapest, the spokesman said.
Austrian Railways ÖBB added that people on the train who had not already applied for asylum in Hungary would be able to stay in Austria for up to two weeks while they decide whether to seek asylum. After a fortnight, authorities would then have the power to return the refugees to their last transit country.
Increased vehicle checks
Amid the refugee crisis, Austrian, Hungarian, Slovakian and German authorites were working together on Monday to stop vehicles on highways close to the countries’ border regions.
The stringent checks, which hope to catch more people traffickers, come less than a week after 71 people were found dead in a Slovakian poultry van on the highway in eastern Austria.
Officials said on Monday that more than 200 migrants and five suspected smugglers had been picked up, less than 24 hours since the measures were implemented.
Huge traffic jams stretching some 50 kilometers (30 miles) built up along the border between Austria and Hungary throughout the day as the checks got under way.