European migrant crisis: A country-by-country glance

Story highlights

  • Hungary: Buses also pick up migrants at main train station in Budapest
  • Hungary: Riot police push migrants back onto a train that's been halted for a day outside Budapest
  • Britain: Prime Minister David Cameron says his country "will accept thousands more" Syrian refugees

(CNN)Europe is in the midst of an unprecedented human migration. Fleeing war, fearing for their life and dreaming of a better life far from the poverty and upheaval of their unstable nations, hundreds of thousands are flocking to Europe's shores. The migrants and refugees risk their lives in rickety boats and cramped lorry containers -- only to be greeted by governments that can't agree on how, or if, to welcome them.

Here's a look at the latest country-by-country developments in the refugee and migrant crisis unfolding across much of Europe:

    Hungary: Migrant train standoff enters second day

    More than 1,000 men, women and children trudged along the side of a highway outside Budapest, carrying their belongings with them, CNN's Arwa Damon said at the scene.
    People in the throng told CNN they had decided to set out on foot because they simply could not wait in Keleti station any longer for Europe's politicians to make decisions -- and that they'd walk all the way to Germany if they had to. The Austrian capital, Vienna, is about 250 kilometers (155 miles) from Budapest.
    Police have not prevented the large group from walking but have tried to shield them from traffic and limit disruption. Some Hungarian citizens have handed out food and water to those passing, or trekked some of the way with them in solidarity.
    Migrants refuse to leave train in Hungary


      Migrants refuse to leave train in Hungary


    Migrants refuse to leave train in Hungary 01:53
    The government sent 100 buses to transport to Austria the people walking along the roadway as well as people at Budapest's main train station, spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said. No one will be forced to take a bus, he added.
    Four buses arrived early Saturday and picked up people walking along the highway, CNN's Gul Tuysuz said. The migrants boarded buses near Herceghalom, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) west of Budapest.The buses were headed toward the Austrian border.
    "So utterly exhausted after 9hr hike on highway," tweeted CNN's Damon, "finally on bus heading towards #austria border."
    Other buses have left the train station, according to a CNN producer.
    Austrian and German officials have agreed to allow thousands of migrants into their countries, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann announced on Facebook.
    More than 1,000 people remain at Keleti station, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, the UNHCR, said on Friday.
    On the southern Hungarian border, there are signs of progress in dealing with the migrants arriving from Serbia into Hungary, said Babar Baloch, a UNHCR spokesman in Budapest. "Before, volunteers were bringing water and food. Now we see the police keep stocks of water and some food with them."
    The situation on the train in Bicske, meanwhile, appeared to worsen Friday afternoon. Police, who numbered more than 100, appeared to be sealing the train, according to a CNN team that witnessed the events.
    Another train was also brought into the station, blocking journalists' view of what was going on and preventing them from communicating with the migrants on the train.
    The refugees, who also want to travel across the border into Austria and, ultimately, Germany, have been in a tense standoff with authorities since Thursday and have refused to leave the train despite sweltering conditions.
    They fear that Hungarian authorities want them to go to a nearby holding camp -- an option they reject because they say they were badly treated at camps when they first crossed into Hungary from Serbia.
    Some have refused to accept food and water from authorities in protest. A group stood by the train Friday morning holding pieces of cardboard saying, "We want Germany" and shouting, "No camp, no camp."

    Refugees protest their treatment by Hungarian authorities. Bicske train stand off. #CNN

    A photo posted by Fred Pleitgen (@fpleitgencnn) on

    A Syrian from Latakia, who gave his name as Adnan, told CNN's Frederik Pleitgen that conditions on the train were awful but that the refugees were determined not to stay in Hungary.
    "Right now, the situation is too bad inside. We have babies, we have women, we have pregnant women inside. No food, no water, no meal, nothing inside," he said.
    "We bought tickets with our money. If they don't want us to pass through here, why did they allow us to buy the tickets? Why, I don't understand this."

    Hungarian government: Just enforcing EU rules

    Kovacs said Friday that claims by the refugees of harsh treatment were "simply not true" and that there was "no reason to be terrified."
    Take a look inside a migrant train near Budapest
    migrants board train in budapest damon lklv_00002428


      Take a look inside a migrant train near Budapest


    Take a look inside a migrant train near Budapest 03:19
    If they had cooperated with police, they would already have been processed and provided with shelter, food and clothing, he said.
    Kovacs said Hungary was only trying to enforce European Union rules on the movement of undocumented migrants, and that it could not just let the refugees travel on to Germany without registering them. "It is not the choice of an illegal migrant to decide where he or she would like to go; there are procedures and protocols all EU nations have to follow," he said.
    Hungary is responding to the influx of migrants heading north by building a barbed wire fence along its southern border with Serbia.
    A statement issued by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's office defended the government's actions and sought to reassure Hungarian citizens and tourists that there was no threat to their safety.
    "The Hungarian police, who have a duty to enforce EU law, are maintaining order within clearly defined statutory boundaries in relation to the thousands of migrants who have entered the EU illegally, without visas or other travel documents," it said. "... The presence of migrants is not affecting the daily lives of the city's inhabitants to the dramatic extent implied by headlines or photographs in the international media."
    Orban told a radio station in Hungary on Friday that poor communication from Germany is to blame for the situation at Keleti. And he warned EU leaders that accepting more migrants could be a dangerous decision.
    "We may one morning wake up and realize that we are in the minority on our own continent," he said.

    Russia: West to blame for Europe's migrant crisis

    Erdogan: 'Western world to be blamed' for migrant crisis
    migrant crisis turkey recep tayyip erdogan intv_00023428


      Erdogan: 'Western world to be blamed' for migrant crisis


    Erdogan: 'Western world to be blamed' for migrant crisis 03:12
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian leader Vladimir Putin both point the finger at Europe and the United States for what has become one of the biggest mass migrations of people in modern times.
    "To be honest, the whole Western world is to be blamed in my opinion on this issue," Erdogan told CNN on Thursday.
    Erdogan has accused Europe of turning the Mediterranean into a cemetery. In his interview with CNN, he stood by those remarks.
    "That's the reality on the ground," he said. "Because the countries bordering round the Mediterranean -- they do not want these people no matter what the cost."
    Putin, talking to reporters Friday, said it's the West's wrongheaded foreign policy in the Middle East and Northern Africa that's at the root of the crisis.
    "What is this policy about? This is imposing its standards without taking into consideration historic, religious, national and cultural specifics of these regions," Putin said, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

    Turkey: Toddler's body returns home for burial

    Image shows 3-year-old who washed ashore
    migrant boy washed ashore gorani pkg _00012511


      Image shows 3-year-old who washed ashore


    Image shows 3-year-old who washed ashore 02:08
    Aylan Kurdi's last journey was supposed to take him to a safe home -- hundreds of miles away from the relentless war in his native Syria.
    Instead, he drowned off Turkey, and the image of his body, face down in the surf of a Turkish beach, rocketed around the world this week. His 4-year-old brother and mother perished with him.
    The three were buried Friday in Kobani, the Syrian city his family left to escape the daily barrage of bombs.
    Aylan's father, Abdullah Kurdi, who survived, was present as his wife and two sons were laid to rest.
    "I don't want anything else from this world," he told CNN on Thursday. "Everything I was dreaming of is gone. I want to bury my children and sit beside them until I die."
    Four Syrian citizens were taken into custody Thursday, suspected of human trafficking in connection with the deaths of Aylan Kurdi and nine others, according to Turkey's semiofficial Anadolu news agency.

    Austria: No change in border policy

    Austria is not planning to change policies along its border with Hungary in light of the massive influx of migrants across Central Europe, Interior Ministry spokesman Karl Heinz Grundboeck in Vienna told CNN on Friday. Austrian officials don't currently enforce border controls their side of the border under terms of an 1985 agreement that eliminates such internal controls in 25 European nations. Grundboeck could not comment on what Hungarian police might or might not do on their side of border.

    Luxembourg: EU foreign ministers meet

    August: A Syrian refugee's journey across Europe
    france calais syrian migrant morgan pkg_00000104


      August: A Syrian refugee's journey across Europe


    August: A Syrian refugee's journey across Europe 02:54
    The crisis will be front and center when EU foreign ministers meet at an informal gathering in Luxembourg on Friday. The nations will send their home ministers for emergency talks in Brussels, Belgium, on September 14.
    France and Germany have proposed a welcoming mechanism that would be permanent and mandatory in Europe, French President Francois Hollande said Thursday.
    "What exists today is no longer enough, and there are countries, and I will not name them here because we have to work with all of them, but who are not responding to their moral obligations," Hollande told reporters.
    "Europe is a group of principles, of values which oblige us to welcome those who are pushed out and look for refuge because they are persecuted."
    On Friday, the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and the Slovak Republic met and issued a statement saying they plan to improve transit and asylum procedures for migrants. They said they would seek to help western Balkan countries in protecting their borders and pledged to seek better support efforts to fight human trafficking and smuggling.

    Greece: Thousands more arrive each day

    Mixed reception for migrants arriving on Kos
    greece kos residents migrants shubert pkg_00014325


      Mixed reception for migrants arriving on Kos


    Mixed reception for migrants arriving on Kos 01:53
    More than 5,000 migrants and refugees a day have crossed the Aegean Sea into Greece over the past week, the International Organization for Migration said Friday.
    The largest group are Syrians, followed by Afghans, it said.
    Many of the families, especially the Afghans, include pregnant women and newborns, the IOM said.
    The small islands of Kos and Lesbos have found themselves on the front lines of the crisis. Many new arrivals are having to wait several days to be registered by police, camping out by overstretched reception centers.
    Rights group Amnesty International said its team in Kos had witnessed a violent attack Thursday night on refugees by a group of 15 to 25 people brandishing bats and shouting "Go back to your countries" and other abuse. Riot police intervened with tear gas only after the physical attacks had started, the rights group said.
    The team also saw children as young as a week old among the crowds forced to wait in baking heat to be registered.
    "The hellish conditions the refugees are now forced to endure and the official indifference to their plight is appalling," said Kondylia Gogou, Greece researcher for Amnesty International.

    United Kingdom: Pressure on to take more refugees

    The United Kingdom "will accept thousands more" Syrian refugees, Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday.
    "Britain will act with our head and our heart, providing refuge for those in need while working on a long-term solution to the Syria crisis," he said.
    Cameron insisted Britain was doing its part, saying it had already accepted about 5,000 Syrian refugees, but would now take in more vulnerable Syrians from camps in neighboring countries.
    "As the second-largest bilateral donor to the crisis, we have provided over 900 million (British) pounds in aid to help those affected in Syria and the region -- we have funded shelter, food, water and vital medical supplies for millions of desperate refugees fleeing the conflict and helping them to survive in the countries around Syria, like Jordan and Lebanon," he said.
    "No European country has done more than Britain in this regard."
    The policy shift comes after public shock over the images of Aylan Kurdi put Cameron under new pressure to offer shelter to more Syrian refugees. Cameron has previously argued the best policy is to focus on bringing peace to the region.
    However, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, Nils Muiznieks, said Thursday that Cameron's position "seriously concerned" him.
    "The truth is that at the moment, the UK is doing much less than other European countries, like Germany or Sweden, which give refuge to thousands of Syrians," he said in a statement.
    An online petition calling for the UK Parliament to accept more asylum seekers had more than 350,000 signatures as of Friday morning -- well past the 100,000 mark required to ensure parliamentary debate.

    United Nations: Piecemeal approach doesn't work

    On Friday, the head of the United Nations refugee agency called for a common approach to tackle what he said was "a primarily refugee crisis, not only a migration phenomenon."
    "Europe cannot go on responding to this crisis with a piecemeal or incremental approach. No country can do it alone, and no country can refuse to do its part," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said in a statement.
    A new system must be set up, he said, based on a common policy.
    "Concretely, this means taking urgent and courageous measures to stabilize the situation and then finding a way to truly share responsibility in the mid to longer term."
    At present, only the people smugglers and traffickers benefit from the chaos, he said. More must be done to open up opportunities for people to come legally to Europe to seek sanctuary, he said, and to tackle the root causes of the situation -- primarily conflict.
    "Thousands of refugee parents are risking the lives of their children on unsafe smuggling boats primarily because they have no other choice."