To read the headlines, one could conclude that Europe is a mess.
Its response to the historic wave of people now migrating from the Middle East and North Africa has been muddled and incoherent. There is a patchwork of different policies. Train stations in Budapest, Hungary, sell tickets, then close down, then reopen.
Borders that normally are just road signs along the highway are suddenly patrolled again. Some countries welcome migrants. Others build walls to keep them out.
Yet there’s reason for this unprecedented human migration. A significant part of the Middle East is in flames. In Europe, there is peace.
Here’s a look at the latest country-by-country developments in the refugee and migrant crisis unfolding across much of Europe:
Turkey: 2-year-old’s death captures world’s attention
Four Syrian citizens were taken into custody Thursday, suspected of human trafficking in connection with the deaths of a toddler whose body was photographed on the Turkish shore and nine others, according to Turkey’s semiofficial Anadolu news agency.
The image of 2-year-old Aylan Kurdi’s body, face down in the surf of a Turkish beach, rocketed around the world. He died along with his 4-year-old brother and mom — three of several thousand refugees and migrants who have perished while trying to find safety in Europe.
The boy’s father, Abdullah Kurdi, was in mourning Thursday.
“I don’t want anything else from this world,” he told CNN. “Everything I was dreaming of is gone. I want to bury my children and sit beside them until I die.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, told CNN’s Becky Anderson that the image shocked him, too.
“When I saw that picture, it was in a family setting, unfortunately, and my children and my grandchildren, they saw the picture at the same time as me,” Erdogan said.
“To be honest, the whole Western world is to be blamed in my opinion on this issue,” he said. “When we saw it, we were devastated and we asked the question of ourselves: Where is humanity? Where is the conscience of humanity that a (2-year-old) child — and it’s not the first time this is happening. … Many children, mothers, fathers unfortunately have been drowned in the rough waters of the Mediterranean.”
Hungary: A chaotic transit stop
Trains packed with refugees left a station in Budapest on Thursday but stopped suddenly at a station outside the capital. Police gathered at the side of the track in Bicske.
A CNN crew on one of the trains said the families there, who boarded hoping to travel to Austria or ultimately Germany, were refusing to get off despite suffocating heat and limited food and water.
Tents and desks had been set up near the station in what the migrants feared was a relocation camp to transfer them to a nearby refugee center.
Meanwhile, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban met in Brussels, Belgium, with other EU leaders to discuss the crisis. His nation, a transit point for migrants trying to make their way north, has responded by erecting a fence along its border with Serbia.
“The problem is not a European problem; the problem is a German problem,” he said.
Germany’s government said last month it expected up to 800,000 asylum seekers to come this year — four times more than in 2014. But, Orban said, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that they must be registered before leaving Hungary.
“All of them would like to go to Germany; our job is only to register them,” Orban said.
France: ‘Welcome those who are pushed out’
French President Francois Hollande said Thursday that it’s “time to act” to prevent more tragedies such as the death of Aylan Kurdi, the refugee toddler whose body was photographed after it washed up on a Turkish beach — called upon Europe’s conscience.
“An image goes around the world and brings out emotion. It is shared,” he said.
“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.” He said some of the 4 million displaced people in Syria have been “welcomed by neighboring countries that are themselves suffering.”
Hollande said he had spoken to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the crisis.
Czech Republic: Removed from trains, marked in ink
Czech authorities said this week that they’ve started to remove migrants traveling without documentation from trains.
In some instances, Czech police have been marking and numbering the migrants with washable ink.
“We cannot let people without any documents and identification travel through the Czech territory. We have to question them. It’s our legal obligation,” said Katerina Rendlova, a Czech immigration official.
“I know other states are not doing it, letting them pass freely to the next country, but we have laws that don’t allow us to do it.”
Italy: Border controls with Austria reinstated
Foreign Ministers Paolo Gentiloni of Italy, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and Laurent Fabius of France have presented the European Union with a joint document calling for a revision of asylum rules and a fairer distribution of refugees, according to the Italian Foreign Ministry.
Italian authorities on Wednesday said they were temporarily reinstating border controls at the Italian-Austrian line in the Alto Adige region.
This is after Bavarian authorities in Germany requested them to do so because they are “overwhelmed” by the influx of migrants, according to a statement by Italy’s Bolzano prefecture.
Bavaria has had a great number of refugees arriving mainly from the Balkan route, and the situation is getting difficult to handle, the Italian statement said.
United Kingdom: Pressure on to take more refugees
Prime Minister David Cameron has come under new pressure to offer shelter to more refugees from the Middle East after saying the best policy was to focus on bringing peace to the region.
The Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, Nils Muiznieks, said 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,” Muiznieks said in a statement.
An online petition calling for the UK Parliament to accept more asylum seekers has passed the 100,000 mark required to ensure debate.
“We can’t allow refugees who have risked their lives to escape horrendous conflict and violence to be left living in dire, unsafe and inhumane conditions in Europe. We must help,” the petition states.