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EU nations struggle with migrant crisis -

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ELEANOR HALL: Let's go now to Europe, where political leaders are under increasing pressure over how to respond to the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers fleeing to the continent.

More than 2,500 people have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean this year.

Humanitarian groups are urging compassion from European leaders and citizens, saying that if the migrants aren't given some form of safe passage many more of them will die.

Lucy Carter has the latest.

LUCY CARTER: The International Organization for Migration estimates that so far this year over 332,000 migrants have arrived in Europe.

Escaping war, poverty and persecution, for most the decision to leave their home seemed the only safe choice.

Shahram Akbari is one of hundreds of migrants camped out in the Serbian capital Belgrade, hoping to head west towards European Union member nations Germany or Austria.

SHAHRAM AKBARI: You know, how is Afghanistan? It's just war, war and war, it doesn't going to be better any more.

LUCY CARTER: Syrian refugee Gabriel has just arrived in Macedonia

He says local citizens are losing patience with the thousands of migrant arrivals.

GABRIEL: These people, they don't have humanity, you understand me? Like, they treat us like animal. That's what I want to, my message, to reach there, to all the world: there is no human rights.

LUCY CARTER: Current EU laws require that refugees be processed in the first country they reach, however many member nations are ignoring this, saying they are being overwhelmed.

Hungary is using barbed wire and police to repel the thousands of people trying to enter the country.

It's also building a fence along the almost 200-kilometre border it shares with non-EU member Serbia.

William Lacy Swing, the director-general of the International Organization of Migration, is urging compassion from European leaders.

WILLIAM LACY SWING: You knowz refugees now are moving to about, they are about 19 to 20 million, and the average time in the camps is about 17 years. So we all need to do better on thatz and it would be good to have the European Union showing leadership on that.

LUCY CARTER: He says nations must do everything they can to prevent desperate migrants turning to people smugglers.

WILLIAM LACY SWING: If you deny them, although they have a paid ticket and you don't let them get on board, you push them right into the hands of smugglers. So they get into trucks and vans and they die. And because of the fear factor, governments have been driven to impose much stricter visa regimes than in the past.

LUCY CARTER: Donald Tusk is the president of European Council:

DONALD TUSK: The summer has confirmed that migration will remain a key issue for Europe in the years to come. The European Union cannot and should not be blamed for the migration crisis, but we need to do more at a European level to solve it. We have to alleviate the unbearable human suffering and tragedies that have become almost daily news stories in Europe now.

In short, the European Union has to help to provide solutions to the major problems facing European citizens and countries today.

LUCY CARTER: However, solutions don't seem to be forthcoming with EU nations now struggling to cooperate with one another.

Yesterday, Hungarian authorities allowed hundreds of unprocessed migrants to cram into at least four trains leaving Budapest for Vienna.

The hot and overcrowded trains were held at the border for hours, before finally being allowed through.

It's a move that has frustrated Austrian authorities.

Michael Braun is an Austrian Federal Railways spokesman:

MICHAEL BRAUN: So from our perspective there are two main reasons which we are focusing on, the one is safety and security in train operating, and the other one is that every passenger has a valid ticket. So we do not refer to passports or any other reasons for travel.

LUCY CARTER: Austria has since called for EU funding for nations refusing to take their share of migrants to be cut.

For migrants choosing to try their luck with people smugglers, the consequences can be dire.

More than 70 bodies were found in a truck on an Austrian highway last week.

Syrian migrant Timam survived his experience with people smugglers, but says his experience in Europe was so bad, he's headed back to their war-torn homes.

TIMAM: It is not the Europe that I imagined. Migrating to Europe is a lie. Now I'm back working in Syria, I can only just get by, but at least I have my family. I am with my parents, brothers and friends. The rest does not mean much to me. At least I am living in my country with dignity.

LUCY CARTER: EU interior ministers will meet in Brussels in two weeks in a bid to "strengthen the European response".

ELEANOR HALL: Lucy Carter reporting.