The bodies of the dead refugees were found in a lorry that had been abandoned at the side of the motorway. "We are all deeply shocked by this horrific news," said the Chancellor in Vienna, where she was attending the Western Balkans Summit. "These were people on the way to seek protection and security, instead of which they have died such a tragic death." The refugee situation was on the agenda of the summit along with discussions of the European prospects of the Western Balkan states.
"This is a warning to us that we must tackle the issue of migration swiftly in line with the European spirit. And that means on the basis of solidarity. We must tackle the problem and we must find solutions," said Angela Merkel in Vienna. "Refugees are entitled to protection and help wherever they earn this and where they need it in desperate situations."
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, host of the Western Balkans Summit, also said that this tragic case illustrates the need to save lives by fighting human traffickers.
During a visit to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in Nürnberg, Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière also commented on the tragedy. The drama clearly illustrates the "urgent need" for the EU to modify its procedures in the face of the refugee numbers. "I am furious and stunned by the fact that many many people suffocate because criminal traffickers exploit the desperation of these people to make money, employing degrading and unsafe means of transport ".