The Latest: EU says reception capacity for migrants to grow

AP News
Posted: Oct 25, 2015 7:37 PM
The Latest: EU says reception capacity for migrants to grow

OPATOVAC, Croatia (AP) — The latest news as asylum-seekers make their way across Europe by the tens of thousands, fleeing war or seeking a better life. All times local:


12:30 a.m.

The European Union executive says that reception capacity in Greece and along the western Balkan route that migrants use on their trek to the EU's heartland by will be increased to 100,000.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said a summit meeting of 11 regional leaders from the EU and the Balkan region said that "where national capacities fall short the EU civil protection mechanism should" provide more temporary shelter.

In Greece alone, Juncker said that Athens promised that the reception capacity will be increased to 30,000 by the end of the year, with the United Nations providing capacity for 20,000 more.


9:10 p.m.

Tiny Slovenia says so many refugees are pouring into the country that it is becoming impossible to deal with the influx in a proper way.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Vesna Mitric said Sunday that five trains packed with asylum-seekers have already arrived from Croatia and more are expected overnight. She says 1,000 other migrants arrived on buses, so a total of 15,000 people will have entered the country by the end of the day.

Mitric says "no country could deal normally with such a large wave that Slovenia has faced today." She adds "we are doing the best we can" but "Slovenia does not have an unlimited capacity of space, human resources, equipment or logistics."

Refugees began entering Slovenia ten days ago after Hungary closed its border with Croatia.


5:50 p.m.

Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar says he will take action to protect his nation's security if other European countries — notably Croatia — do not help Slovenia cope with the migrant influx.

Cerar said Sunday that more than 60,000 people had arrived in tiny Slovenia over the last 10 days, many of them through Croatia. He said "we will not be able to endure this for weeks to follow if we don't get any help."

Thousands of migrants began flooding into Slovenia after Hungary closed its border with Croatia. Cerar urged Croatia "not to send people to Slovenia deliberately in a dispersed way, without sending us notice (about) where we can expect them."

Cerar spoke at an emergency summit in Brussels on Europe's migrant crisis.


4:45 p.m.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says a summit of European Union and Balkan leaders on the migrant crisis is of little use if Turkey is not involved.

Greece has been facing the brunt of the crisis, as Syrians, Afghans and others by the hundreds of thousands flee their homelands through Turkey, across the sea to Greece and into the 28-nation EU.

Tsipras chided some EU nations for only looking at ways to keep migrants out and not how to tackle the crisis together.

"Unfortunately, till today, it was difficult to find a solution, because a series of countries adopt a stance of 'not in my own backyard,'" Tsipras said upon arriving at Sunday's summit in Brussels.

And he said Turkey bears a special responsibility in the migrant crisis.

Tsipras says "at the end of the (migrant) corridor, there is an entrance. So if we will not be able to agree with the country at the entrance, I am afraid that it will be very difficult to find a solution."


4:05 p.m.

Greece's coast guard says a woman and two children aged 7 and 2 have drowned after their boat smashed into coastal rocks on the island of Lesbos amid turbulent seas.

The coast guard says the boat carried 63 migrants at the time and 53 of the passengers were rescued.

Based on information from other passengers, another seven are missing, it said.

The bodies of the dead have been recovered and two helicopters and two ships, from the Greek coast guard and from the EU border agency Frontex, continue the search.

The coast guard says the nationalities of the victims and those rescued have not been verified yet.


12:45 p.m.

German authorities say three people were injured when a fight broke out over religious differences between two groups in a home for asylum seekers.

Dresden police said Sunday that about 100 people were involved in the fight overnight in the asylum center in nearby Niederau, the dpa news agency reported.

Police say an Afghan man was identified as the instigator and was taken into custody after he was treated for injuries.

About 30 police officers helped break up the fight between an estimated 40 Afghans and about 60 others.


12:45 p.m.

Serbia's prime minister is calling for a "comprehensive solution" to the migrant crisis at the upcoming summit of several EU and Balkan nations.

Aleksandar Vucic spoke Sunday before traveling to Brussels to meet the leaders of countries coping with the influx of tens of thousands of migrants hoping to reach Western Europe.

Vucic said he expects "hard, not very pleasant" talks, but hopes for a "comprehensive solution." He insisted Serbia is not afraid of its "responsibility" and will not "put up any walls."

But, Vucic also suggested his country will not agree to be the only migrant stop if countries further west close their borders.

Nearly 250,000 migrants have passed through the Balkans since mid-September and the surge is not expected to stop despite colder weather.


11:25 a.m.

Croatia says a record number of 11,500 migrants have entered the country in one day in a sign that the flow of people toward Western Europe is not abating.

Interior Ministry spokesman Domagoj Dzigulovic said Sunday that the number of people who crossed into the country on Saturday was the highest in a single day since migrants started coming to Croatia in mid-September.

Migrants turned to Croatia after Hungary erected a barbed-wire fence along its border with Serbia. They now mainly travel from Turkey to Greece and then go north to Macedonia and Serbia before entering Croatia and move on to Slovenia and Austria. Most are aiming to get to Germany or Scandinavia.

Police say nearly 250,000 have crossed through Croatia since mid-September.