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Migrants board north-bound train from Macedonia

Wednesday, September 02, 2015 - 01:08

Migrants on board morning train from the Macedonia-Greek border say they hope to find ''a better future'' in western Europe. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Several hundred migrants and refugees boarded a train in the southern Macedonian town of Gevgelija taking them northwards towards Serbia on Wednesday (September 2). The government-provided train, which runs twice per day, takes migrants and refugees - mostly Syrian - through Macedonia and stops on Macedonia's northern border, where the migrants cross into Serbia. As the flow of people travelling the Balkan route towards western Europe continues unabated, United Nations estimates some 3,000 new refugees and migrants are expected to arrive into Macedonia daily through its southern border with Greece in the coming months. In their search for a better life free of conflict and political instability, most of them intend to reach Germany, which has announced all Syrians fleeing the civil war in their country can apply for asylum without being sent back to the country where they entered the bloc. But the last leg on their journey before they get into the European Union's Schengen passport-free zone is Serbia's border with Hungary, which Hungarian authorities have reinforced by constructing a fence and stepping up patrols, arresting hundreds who try crossing it on foot. The EU will hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the matter in Brussels on September 14. Hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing war and economic migrants escaping poverty have been arriving in Europe, on rickety boats across the Mediterranean and over land across the Balkan peninsula. Nearly all reach the EU on its southern or eastern outskirts and then press on for the richer and more generous countries further north and west, ignoring EU rules which require them to wait for processing in the country where they first arrive. Germany, which is prepared to take by far the greatest number, has begun accepting asylum claims from Syrian refugees regardless of where they entered the EU, even though undocumented migrants are theoretically barred from travel across the bloc. That has caused confusion for its neighbours, which have alternated this week between letting them through and blocking them. Many have come overland across the Balkans through Hungary, which allowed thousands to board trains for Germany on Monday but has since called a halt to the travel, leaving migrants camped in the summer heat in central Budapest. The migration crisis has polarised and confounded the EU, which is committed to the principle of accepting refugees fleeing real danger but has no mechanism to compel its 28 member states to share out the burden of receiving them. Twenty-six European countries have eliminated border controls between them under the EU's Schengen programme, leaving no effective mechanism in place to enforce the ban on undocumented migrants travelling within the bloc. Germany says that despite its decision to accept asylum applications from Syrians who first arrive elsewhere in the EU, other states in the bloc should continue to demand migrants register and remain where they first arrive.

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Migrants board north-bound train from Macedonia

Wednesday, September 02, 2015 - 01:08