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Hungary Provides Trains For Migrants To Travel To The Border With Austria


Let's look more closely at the country that has become a reluctant doorway to the European Union. Hungary is the point of entry for many people fleeing the Middle East. As we've reported, many Hungarians are not happy about it. And Hungary has been changing the way it handles the new arrivals. Let's start with Lauren Frayer, reporting from the Hungary-Austria border.

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: Every day, Hungary has been arranging special trains to take migrants and refugees straight across and out of its territory for free, five hours from Croatia to Austria. Just weeks ago, migrants would get locked up in Hungarian camps for days, awaiting fingerprints and registration. Now they cross the country so quickly, many lose track of where they are.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Which place is this, please?


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is Hungary? We are still in Hungary? OK. How long to Austria?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I think maybe 10 more minutes walking.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ten more minutes walking, OK. Thank you.

FRAYER: Afghan Khaled Masoom was on a Hungarian train with about 1,200 other refugees and no bathroom. The train stops two miles from the Austrian border. From here, they walk, many caring babies and suitcases.

KHALED MASOOM: They are just moving us without the informations. We're just moving.

FRAYER: Syrian Mohamed Al-Abou says policemen woke him at dawn at a camp on the Croatian border.

MOHAMED AL-ABOU: The police came in with facemasks. You could see only their eyes. They told us to go to the train, and now we're here.

FRAYER: Many here are surprised at being allowed to cross through Hungary on their way to northern Europe. They know Hungary has threatened to jail people who cross the border illegally. They'll have been here less than a day and reach Vienna by nightfall. For NPR News, I'm Lauren Frayer in Hegyeshalom on the Hungary-Austria border. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lauren Frayer covers India for NPR News. In June 2018, she opened a new NPR bureau in India's biggest city, its financial center, and the heart of Bollywood—Mumbai.