Executive Summary for October 5th

We review the latest developments related to refugees, including a protest march to Serbia’s border with Hungary, an uptick in land border crossings into Greece and a call from Austria’s foreign minister to abandon E.U. resettlement quotas.

Published on Oct. 5, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Hundreds March Toward Hungary-Serbia Border

Several hundred migrants and refugees embarked on a protest march from the Serbian capital Belgrade toward the Hungarian border, appealing for entry to Northern Europe.

Hungary closed its southern border earlier this year, leaving around 6,000 migrants stuck in Serbia.

Following Sunday’s referendum vote against E.U. resettlement quotas in Hungary, a group of stranded migrants held a protest in Belgrade, urging Europe not to shut them out.

Then, around 300 of them, mostly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, set off on the 120-mile trek from Belgrade to the Hungarian border October 4.

They camped overnight in a gas station north of Belgrade amid bracing rain and wind. Around half of the group decided to return to the capital October 5, while the remainder vowed to march on, Reuters reported.

Ahmad, an Afghan from Kabul, told the news agency he decided to march to the border after being denied shelter in Serbia’s refugee camps, which are full beyond capacity. “We were sleeping in parks and under bridges; there’s lack of sanitation, food, everything,” he said.

More Syrians Cross Land Border From Turkey to Greece

More Syrian refugees are attempting to cross the land border between Turkey and Greece as an alternative route into Europe.

Greek police said they detained 214 Syrians crossing the Evros river into northern Greece a week after 107 others were caught in the same area, the Associated Press reported.

A police official told the news agency that low river levels provided an opportunity for more refugees to make it across.

The natural border of the Evros River was a common route for irregular migrants into the country until Greece built a fence along the perimeter in 2011.

Now that Syrians who have made the sea voyage from Turkey to the Greek islands are meant to be sent back under the E.U.-Turkey deal, refugees are again seeking alternative routes into the country.

Austrian Foreign Minister Urges E.U. to Abandon Resettlement Plan

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said the European Union’s plan to redistribute refugees between member nations is “totally unrealistic.”

Speaking following the Hungarian referendum that rejected E.U. resettlement quotas, Kurz told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that the E.U. should drop the plan entirely.

Last year, the E.U. decided to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers from overburdened Italy and Greece to other member states.

The plan met fierce resistance from several European nations, and Hungary and Slovakia have filed legal challenges at the European Court of Justice.

Europe’s rift over the plan could threaten “the cohesion of the entire European Union,” Kurz said.

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