Germany has thrashed out a common strategy with Austria and Slovenia which will see it take 7,200 migrants a day.
The idea is to facilitate the registration of those migrants applying for refugee status through more regulated means, reports EurActiv Germany. In doing so the countries involved hope to defuse tensions which have been growing on their borders in recent weeks.
Germany will receive the 7,200 daily influx through five fixed, official crossing points. Austria has pledged to provide designated buses and trains, as well as accommodation, for those migrants entering the country but rather than seeking to register there have Germany as their preferred destination. Slovenia will run three trains a day, specifically tasked with transporting up to 1,500 passengers from Jesenice to Rosenbach in Austria.
Austria has also agreed to help Croatia and Serbia. Both countries had asked the European Union for assistance as the winter months approach with no sign of let up in the number of migrants, but Vienna’s response has beaten that of Brussels. Austria’s Federal Ministry of the Interior has put together an aid convoy providing thousands of blankets, first-aid kits, winter sleeping bags, disposable gloves and rain ponchos to counter the effects of the cold wet weather.
It now seems that the fence which Austria’s Minister of the Interior, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, had proposed will not be the solution for the troubled border with Slovenia. The Austrian Defence Minister, Gerald Klug, believes upgrading existing facilities in the village of Spielfeld will be better than a physical barrier, allowing crowd flows to be better managed.
Meanwhile, in Germany popular sentiment against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-arms approach to Syrian migrants continues to strengthen with the growth of the new Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany) political party.
The right of centre Eurosceptic party, which today held a rally in Berlin, is campaigning in local elections in Saxony-Anhalt scheduled for March 2016. The vote will be offer a strong indicator of public sentiment in eastern Germany towards Mrs Merkel’s policy.