First group of refugees makes it to Munich

First group of 450 refugees arrives in Munich

Members of the public greet first group of refugees to arrive in Munich with gifts
Members of the public greet first group of refugees to arrive in Munich with gifts

The first group of what are expected to be some 10,000 refugees, has been greeted in Munich after a long and arduous journey through Hungary and Austria. The refugees were greeted by applause and sweets from the German public.

The first 450 refugees arrived on a special train service from Austria.

The plight of the refugees over the past week has highlighted the EU's struggle to deal with a surge of asylum seekers. Earlier this week there were chaotic scenes and clashes in Budapest as Hungary blocked refugees from travelling onwards to Germany.

Many asylum seekers refused to be taken to camps in Hungary to register for asylum, insisting they wanted to travel on to Germany and Austria, and crowds at Budapest’s train station broke through security lines and began walking the 175km journey to the border.

Following pressure from the global community, Hungary opened its border with Austria earlier this morning, and even offered a one-off bus service to refugees who had decided to walk the long journey. Reports suggest that Austria will receive some 10,000 people by the end of Saturday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany can cope with an influx of newcomers, without raising taxes or jeopardising its budget, while Austria has said it will not limit the number of migrants crossing its borders, the BBC reports.

Despite more than 350,000 asylum seekers having crossed the EU's borders in 2015 alone, the lack of a co-ordinated EU response to the crisis remains rampant.

Europe's refugee crisis is "here to stay" and nations must act together to deal with it effectively, the EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said after "difficult" talks with foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

"In three months time, it will be other member states under the focus, and in six months, it could be again others," she added.

Germany, has been pushing for a quota system for dividing the people reaching Europe between member states, and it has received backing from the European Commission, but several eastern member states have opposed this move.

Following a series of controversial claims that “migration is Germany’s problem,” Hungary said that while it had temporarily relaxed restrictions on the transit of asylum seekers, it intended to go ahead with plans to tighten border controls.