Vienna: The Austrian-Hungarian border was temporarily closed on Monday, as Austrian police expected a large influx of refugees from Hungary and have said the situation could escalate to an emergency.
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has said that soldiers will be sent to the Hungarian border at the Nickelsdorf on the A4 motorway to help control the situation, The Local news reported.
More than 16,000 people have crossed the border since Saturday afternoon.
Police spokesman Gerald Koller said that up to 10,000 refugees were expected to arrive in Heiligenkreuz in Burgenland later on Monday, and that they do not have the resources to cope with such a large number. Police have set up metal barriers to contain the refugees, who are arriving on buses every hour.
There are unconfirmed reports that Hungary is about to close a refugee camp at Roszke, where up to 80,000 people are currently being held. The camp is 386 km from Austria and there are fears that the refugees will set off on foot for Austria.
This comes after Germany imposed controls on its border with Austria on Sunday — effectively leaving thousands of refugees who wish to travel to Germany to claim asylum in a “legal limbo” and stuck in Austria. Police said that only 22 people had claimed asylum in Austria over the weekend.
Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP) said on Monday that Austria would respect German border controls and that she is also in favour of controls on Austria’s border with Hungary — but needs the rest of the coalition government to agree to this.