Vienna receives refugees without registration
Refugees arriving to Austria’s capital will be allowed to transit without monitoring and registration – the Viennese Chief of Police announced on Thursday morning. He later added that spot-checks would remain in place.
“So long as there are no serious breaches of regulations and police mediation is unnecessary, why should we intervene?” he asked. He continued: in the case of refugees who are travelling on trains, police will ensure order and guard the safety of people.
Gerhard Pürstl justified the decision by saying that they are unable to monitor all travellers, they cannot identify them, nor can they arrest them, either. Pürstl emphasized: there is no change in their policy: they will continue to focus on arresting human traffickers, and will continue their efforts to ensure that no one is able to profit from the misfortune of others. He feels that with the prohibition of train-travel for refugees to Austria, human trafficking gains ground as people will continue to search for alternative solutions to travel to the West.
According to Gerald Pangl, the spokesperson of the Burgenland Police, they are in general prepared to receive refugees arriving from Hungary by train, and also for a situation where those involved cross the Hungarian-Austrian border on foot. He confirmed, that the monitoring of vehicles is still in effect in the province.
According to the Red Cross in Burgenland, they are able to ensure continuous provisions for the refugees, and as the organisation’s provincial spokesperson informed, they can accommodate all situations with flexibility. In case the refugees arrive to Austria on foot, Schattendorf or Nickelsdorf collection-stations will provide for them.
The Austrian Railways (ÖBB) announced that on Thursday there were two scheduled trains arriving from Budapest to Vienna. Their spokesperson said: at the Viennese Westbahnhof the situation is calm, and there are only a few passengers there. According to Michael Braun, trains from Vienna towards Hungary run only up to the Austrian-Hungarian border, because the Hungarian State Railways will not receive them. Because of this, ÖBB discourages people to start their journey to Hungary, and refunds tickets at their ticket offices.
For those who cannot postpone their travel, the rail company recommends taking the Railjet to the Hegyeshalom border from Vienna, then changing to a Hungarian Intercity towards Györ, and from there continuing on to Budapest. They advise that the transit time this way will be about one hour longer than usual. Travel from Budapest to Vienna is currently uncertain, and any change in the situation is pending on decisions made by Hungarian State Railways and the Hungarian police.