BERLIN (AP) — The latest news as tens of thousands of people fleeing war or poverty make their way across Europe. All times local.
Sweden’s right-wing Sweden Democrats party has confirmed it’s behind a campaign to stop the huge influx of asylum-seekers arriving in the country by spreading flyers at a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.
The flyers, which include false information about Sweden banning hijabs and halal meat, and forcing refugees to live in tents, are part of a campaign by the party to halt the massive influx of asylum-seekers arriving in the Scandinavian country.
Sweden Democrats party spokesman Joakim Wallerstein confirmed Monday to the national TT news agency that the party was behind the flyers campaign, but he declined to comment on specific claims in the flyers.
The party has been a strong critic of the Social Democratic-led government’s immigration policies, saying the Scandinavian country was facing collapse.
France is urging its European Union partners to rapidly boost EU border surveillance and finalize agreements allowing migrants to be sent back to their home countries more quickly.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Monday that “there’s a need for urgency. The European Union cannot systematically take its time to take decisions.”
He said the EU’s Frontex border surveillance agency must be boosted “to ensure real control of Europe’s external borders.”
Cazeneuve’s call came at a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels focused on speeding up Europe’s response to the refugee emergency.
More than 770,000 people have arrived in the EU by sea so far this year overwhelming border authorities and receptions centers.
Hungary is sending 50 police officers to Slovenia to help its neighbor with the large flow of migrants traveling through the country.
Interior Minister Sandor Pinter told the officers at a farewell ceremony on Monday that by defending the Slovenian border they were protecting Hungary and Europe, too.
Fences erected by Hungary on its borders with Serbia and Croatia have diverted thousands of migrants a day toward Slovenia as they seek to reach Germany and other destinations further west in the European Union.
Over the past weeks, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland have sent personnel and equipment to Hungary to help with border control. Over 390,000 migrants have entered Hungary this year, but the razor-wire fences guarded by police and military patrols have practically stopped the migrant flow through Hungary.
Austria’s foreign minister is calling for a two-pronged approach to master the migrant crisis — reducing the inflow of those fleeing war and hardship and integrating those who come.
Sebastian Kurz says that without such an approach Germany, Sweden and Austria — the first countries of choice for many refugees — will not be able to cope.
Kurz spoke to reporters Monday at a Vienna conference of senior EU and U.S officials dealing with immigration.
He says he expects 85,000 migrants to come to Austria this year, with up to 25,000 of them likely to be granted asylum.
The German government is downplaying a Cabinet split over proposals to restrict the rights of Syrian refugees.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere surprised colleagues last week by declaring that many Syrians should get a lesser form of protection, renewable each year and without the right to bring relatives to Germany for two years.
The plan prompted sharp criticism, not least because it hadn’t been discussed with other members of Germany’s coalition government. It was quickly withdrawn.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday that de Maiziere continues to have the full confidence of Chancellor Angela Merkel. He added even though the rules for Syrians hadn’t been changed, processing the huge number of people seeking asylum in Germany currently takes precedence over family reunions.
Migrants are facing long waits to cross Greece’s border with Macedonia after a four-day ferry strike ended, easing a bottleneck on the country’s eastern Aegean islands, where the vast majority of people arrive from nearby Turkey.
Police said 6,950 people crossed the border in the last day up to Monday morning, while thousands more were hoping to cross Monday as waiting times were reaching 18 hours.
About 4,500 people were waiting in a queue of 90 buses early Monday morning, while another 1,500 were waiting in tents that have been set up in the Idomeni border area. Unseasonably warm weather meant conditions were good.
Macedonian authorities, following the standard practice of the past few months, were allowing groups of 50 people to cross every 10 to 15 minutes.
Syrian Raafat Lord, 23, from Aleppo, said his group had been waiting in “buses for 12 hours and another three hours in the tents.”
The camp has been set up on the border to provide facilities for those waiting, including tents, food, water, showers and areas for mothers with young babies. Donated clothes are also available.
Sweden says a record number of 10,201 asylum-seekers arrived in the country last week, bringing the total so far this year to more than 122,000.
The Migration Agency said Monday it was the first time since records began that the number of asylum-seekers arriving in Sweden exceeded 10,000 during seven days. Among them were 2,827 unaccompanied minors — also a new seven-day record.
More than 4,300 of the new arrivals came from Afghanistan, followed by some 2,720 from Syria and 1,400 from Iraq.
Last week, Sweden said it will request to transfer some migrants to other European countries under an EU relocation plan because migration authorities were overstretched by the large influx. About 160,000 asylum-seekers are expected this year, making Sweden the highest recipient of asylum-seekers per capita in the 28-nation bloc, according to government officials.
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