BERLIN: Europe's refugee crisis has taken a new dimension in Germany with the arrival of over 8,000 asylum-seekers in the southern state of Bavaria from Hungary in one single day.
They are the largest group of refugees to land in this country in a single day since the current massive influx of migrants into Europe mainly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan that began nearly a month ago.
Their entry into Germany yesterday was made possible by an agreement between the German and Austrian governments on Friday to let in thousands of refugees who have been stranded for several days in the Hungarian capital Budapest.
Bavarian authorities said more than 6,000 refugees travelled to Munich between 0800 hrs and 2000 hrs (local time) yesterday and another 2,000 people followed them late at night.
The refugees, who looked cheerful and relieved about ending their ordeal, were given a warm welcome by city authorities and the public as they arrived in Munich.
Most of them were later sent by special trains to preliminary reception centres and refugee shelters in different parts of the country.
Bavarian officials said they expected the refugee influx to continue in the coming days as several trains carrying them from Hungary are reported to be heading to the Austrian border.
The Hungarian authorities, who have been preventing the refugees from travelling to Austria and Germany by train, unexpectedly organised special bus services from Friday night to take them from Budapest's central railway station to the Austrian border.
Those buses also picked up around 1,200 refugees who set on foot from Budapest along a 180-kilometre route to the Austrian border in protest against a decision to send them to two preliminary reception centres set up for them in the town of Bicske in the north and Roeszke in the south.
Refugees who have been already staying in these camps also were transported to the Austrian border.
Meanwhile, reports from Serbia said several thousand refugees are heading to the country in their desperate efforts to reach Hungary, the gateway to the European Union and to its Schengen passport-free travel area.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, during a visit to Brussels earlier this week, held Germany responsible for the crisis and claimed that "it is not a European problem, but a German problem."
Orban was apparently referring to a German government's decision last month to suspend for Syrian refugees EU rules on asylum, which requires asylum-seekers to register in the first country they set foot on the European soil.
The German government yesterday emphasised that chancellor Angela Merkel and her Austrian counterpart Werner Faymann took the decision to admit refugees from Hungary during a phone call on Friday in view of the "emergency situation" they faced in Budapest and it will be an exception.
"This will not be repeated every day," Merkel's chief of staff Peter Altmaier said in a TV interview yesterday.