The Latest: Migration crisis with Europe for 'a generation'

AP News
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Posted: Jun 02, 2016 2:13 PM
The Latest: Migration crisis with Europe for 'a generation'

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on Europe's migration crisis (all times local):

9:10 p.m.

A senior EU official says the migration crisis will be with Europe "for at least a generation."

EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans says it will be visible in "the demographic development, political development, the economic development in Europe and its neighborhood."

Speaking with Sweden's Justice Minister Morgan Johansson on Thursday, Timmermans asked smilingly "How many Zlatans will you have 20 years from now coming the new Swedish community?"

His tongue-in-cheek remark was a nod to Sweden's top soccer player, striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic — the son of Bosnian-Croatian emigrants. It also referred to the fact that the Scandinavian country last year received the EU's highest per-capita rate of asylum seekers — 163,000 people.

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8 p.m.

Police in Hungary and Slovakia say they have broken up a network of 19 human smugglers who were taking migrants from Greece through Serbia to Hungary and then onto western Europe.

Police said Thursday the suspected smugglers — including Slovaks, Afghans and Hungarians — charged people 400-600 euros ($445-$670) on the last leg from Hungary to Germany. They transported 95 migrants in 17 separate cases between May 2014 and February 2015. Police said 13 of the 19 suspected smugglers have been named so far in criminal cases.

Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency, says "criminal groups appear increasingly at the EU's external borders along the main migration channels and around refugee camps to offer their services."

Over 13,000 migrants have been detained in Hungary this year, most for breaching the razor-wire fences built by Hungary on its borders with Serbia and Croatia.

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1:55 p.m.

Hungarian police say they have detained five Ukrainians suspected of human trafficking for transporting 25 migrants from Pakistan and Afghanistan toward Austria.

The migrants were in one of two vans with Lithuanian license plates stopped by police early Thursday on a road near the western city of Szombathely, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the Austrian border.

In another case, police said a 49-year-old Austrian man was taken into custody near the northern city of Tata after he was stopped with six Syrians, including two minors, in his car. The Syrians had registered with Hungarian authorities and requested asylum but did not have the documents needed to leave the country.

Hungary registered over 17,500 asylum requests this year by mid-May, but most of the asylum-seekers leave for western Europe before their cases are decided.

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12:38 a.m.

Police in eastern Germany say they're looking for three men from a suspected vigilante group after a video surfaced of them pulling an Iraqi migrant out of a supermarket.

Goerlitz police told the dpa news agency Thursday the 21-year-old Iraqi was arguing with supermarket employees over a defective phone card on May 21 in Arnsdorf when three men in black shirts stormed in, grabbed him, took him outside and zip-tied him to a tree.

The men fled when police arrived.

Bild newspaper on Thursday posted a video of the incident, which it said has been making the rounds on far-right websites.

Police are looking for witnesses who can identify the men. They're also investigating the migrant, who supermarket workers said threatened them with a bottle.

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11:15 a.m.

Authorities in Greece say three migrants have been hospitalized with injuries after violence broke out overnight at a detention camp on the island of Lesbos.

The clashes between migrant groups occurred early Thursday and also resulted in a fire that gutted a converted freight container used as trailer home, police said.

It was the latest violence at the Moria camp on the Greek island, where more than 2,500 are held in detention following a March agreement between the European Union and Turkey to deport migrants and refugees.

Deportations have been held up by delays in the asylum screening process — triggering frequent unrest at camps on Lesbos and the nearby island of Chios.