After a series of policy reversals by Hungary’s xenophobic government, on Saturday, refugees in that country from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan were able to cross the Hungarian border with Austria and continue on to Germany, the Associated Press reports.
“We are giving a warm welcome to these people today,” said Simone Hilgers, a spokeswoman for the regional government agencies responsible for supporting the migrants as they arrive at Munich’s central station. “We realize it’s going to be a big challenge but everybody, the authorities and ordinary citizens, are pulling together.”
The refugees on Saturday were greeted with cheers and food in Vienna and then again in Munich, the AP reports—a stark contrast to the cold reception they received in Hungary, the prime minister of which, Viktor Orban, bid the refugees good riddance.
The people being taken in by Germany, Orban told reporters, mostly come “from regions that are not ravaged by war. They just want to live the kind of life that we have. And I understand that, but this is impossible. If we let everybody in, it’s going to destroy Europe.”
“What will it solve if we divide 50,000 or 100,000 migrants among us, when uncountable millions will be on the way?” he asked. His argument has been echoed, the New York Times reports, by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who opposes the mandatory quotas of refugees proposed by Germany and France.