The Latest: Merkel confident Germany can integrate refugees

AP News
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Posted: Oct 26, 2015 10:51 AM
The Latest: Merkel confident Germany can integrate refugees

BERLIN (AP) — The latest on the stream of people crossing Europe in search of safety or a better life. All times local.

3:50 p.m.

Chancellor Angela Merkel says she remains confident Germany can integrate the large number of refugees who are arriving, and is arguing that many won't stay forever.

Germany has been the main destination of Syrians and others seeking protection in Europe. Merkel said at a town hall event in Nuremberg Monday that "there are very, very many, but there are 80 million of us." She said "we can and will manage this integration" if Germany makes an effort from the beginning to integrate the newcomers.

Merkel said most Syrians will get residency for three years and many likely will want to help rebuild Syria when the war ends. She said the Geneva Convention on refugees obliges Germany to protect people, "but we don't have the task of keeping everyone here for life."

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2:45 p.m.

Greece's government says it is preparing a rent-assistance program to cope with a growing number of refugees, who face the oncoming winter and mounting resistance in Europe.

Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili said Monday the scheme will cover 20,000 migrants and is an alternative to a European Union proposal to house them in camps.

She said Athens had rejected the proposal Sunday at a meeting of European countries affected by the crisis in Brussels Sunday, insisting that "there will be no concentration camps in our country."

Left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agreed to boost Greece's reception capacity to 50,000 by the end of the year, with the additional 20,000 being absorbed by the new program

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1:25 p.m.

Greece's foreign minister says the European Union needs to fork out money to improve conditions in camps housing refugees fleeing Syria in countries such as Jordan and Lebanon, in order to stem the flow of people heading to Europe.

Nikos Kotzias says that there indications that 300,000 people now living in these refugee camps are on the move and heading to Greece. Kotzias said Monday after talks with Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides that the migration wave toward Europe is impossible to deal with because of its sheer size.

He said action must be taken to avoid destabilizing other countries in the region like Egypt, which could make the migration problem much worse.

Greece is the main entry point to the EU for refugees and economic migrants.

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12:55 p.m.

German authorities say some 15,000 refugees and other migrants entered the country over the weekend, crossing into Bavaria from Austria.

The Bavarian Interior Ministry said Monday that 6,000 crossed over on Saturday and 9,000 more came in on Sunday, the dpa news agency reported.

Over the past week, authorities say, about 4,000 to 5,000 per day have been crossing into the country from Austria.

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12:40 p.m.

Croatia's police say more than 13,000 migrants have arrived from Serbia in the past 24 hours. About 260,000 have passed through Croatia since mid-September when Hungary put up a fence at the border with Serbia, diverting the flow to Croatia.

Slovenia's police said Monday nearly 10,000 entered Slovenia from Croatia in the same period of time, bringing the total number of arrivals there to almost 75,000 in the past 12 days.

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10:05 a.m.

Greek authorities say two more refugees or other migrants have drowned in two separate incidents as thousands of people continue to cross over from Turkey in frail boats seeking a better life in Europe.

The coast guard said one man was found dead on the eastern Aegean Sea island of Chios early Monday.

Further north, on the island of Lesbos where most migrants head for, a woman drowned and a further 40 people were rescued from an inflatable dinghy that ran into trouble off the coast.

Three migrants drowned off Lesbos on Sunday, while seven remain missing. More than 500,000 migrants have entered Greece so far by sea from Turkey, and more than 120 have drowned.

Over the weekend, coast guards rescued 460 migrants in the Aegean. Thousands more safely reached shore.

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9:50 a.m.

Austrian officials say thousands of refugees and other migrants have spent the night outdoors in cold fall weather as authorities struggle to keep up with the steady flow.

Austrian broadcaster ORF reported Monday that facilities for migrants along the border with Germany are already full, and Germany has been permitting fewer to cross because its own tents and buildings are also overflowing.

ORF reports some 2,500 people had to sleep outside overnight near the border town of Achleiten; 700 close to Braunau; and 300 more near Kollerschlag.

Austrian authorities are working to build more temporary shelters, but a large tent being erected is expected to be available only on Tuesday.