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Tags: EU | Europe | Migrants | The Latest

The Latest: Migrant Processing Center to be near Athens

The Latest: Migrant Processing Center to be near Athens

Friday, 04 September 2015 09:04 AM EDT

BICSKE, Hungary (AP) — The latest news from the crisis of migrants pouring into countries across Europe. All times local (CET):

3 p.m.

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, speaking during a visit to the Greek island of Kos Friday, says a center will be set up at Greece's main port of Piraeus where European teams will fast-track fingerprinting and processing of refugees and migrants.

It was initially believed the so-called "hot-spot" would be set up at points of entry for migrants and refugees on islands where they arrive in small boats from the nearby Turkish coast. The centers will determine who among those arriving is a refugee fleeing persecution or war and therefore entitled to protection and asylum in Europe, and who is an economic migrant who will be sent home.

Avramopoulos said the refugee and migration crisis is "directly linked to the geopolitical instability" of nearby countries and that it "will not end in a night. And no measure can deal with it quickly and effectively. Method, system are needed, political will is needed."

2 p.m.

Ireland has announced it will take in at least 1,800 refugees, tripling initial plans announced in July to accept roughly 600 over the next two years.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said Friday that a more comprehensive response is needed to the "heartbreaking and tragic" events unfolding.

She said the number accepted will be "in the thousands" but that no precise figure has been determined yet.

Fitzgerald is also calling for increased aid programs and an extension of the naval search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean.

The announcement was made as the United Nations refugee agency called for European countries to draw up a common plan to relocate refugees.

1:55 p.m.

Slovak police say a small truck with 23 refugees from Syria on the way from Hungary to Germany has been involved in a fatal crash in northwestern Slovakia.

Police spokesman Martin Waldl says the Peugeot Lamar vehicle with a Polish plate carrying the migrants collided head-on with a car near the town of Cadca, near the border with the Czech Republic and Poland, on Thursday.

Waldl says the Polish driver was detained as well the refugees — 20 men and three teenagers — who fled the site of the crash. One person from the other car was killed.

Waldl says investigators are questioning the driver and the migrants on Friday. Hi didn't immediately give further details.

1:50 p.m.

The German government is declining to offer advice to Hungary on how to deal with migrants who refuse to be registered at camps there.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Friday he "can't give any recommendations to the Hungarian authorities or anyone else in the absence of precise knowledge of the situation in and around Budapest."

Refugees are trying to avoid Hungarian camps because they don't want to pursue asylum claims there. Hungary says the influx is Germany's problem because most want to go to Germany.

Seibert reiterated Berlin's position that a pan-European response is required. He noted Budapest's obligation to register, process and take care of migrants and said Germany "assumes that Hungary, as part of the Western community of values, will do justice to its legal and humanitarian obligations."

1:45 p.m.

The mayor of the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos is appealing for "immediate measures" to help alleviate the acute refugee and migrant crisis on his island, which is the entry point for about half of the hundreds of thousands who have arrived in Greece so far this year.

Spyros Galinos described the situation as a bomb about to explode in his hands. "I appeal to the prime minister for immediate measures," he told state television Friday. "We will have victims."

Earlier Friday, clashes broke out between police and about 1,000 people, mostly Afghans, who attempted to rush onto a ferry heading to Greece's main port of Piraeus, near Athens. Police fired stun grenades to repel the stone-throwing crowd.

Galinos said there were currently about 15,000 refugees and migrants on his island, of whom 7,000-8,000 were already registered and waiting to leave Lesbos for Athens but were unable to find ferry tickets due to fully booked ships. The government has chartered two ferries to transport the migrants, but with thousands of new arrivals each day, they have not been enough.

Galinos said he had proposed extra ferries as well as charter flights to defuse the overcrowding on the island. "I don't need one ship, I need a fleet," he said.

1:40 p.m.

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans says the refugee and migrant crisis is nothing less than "a moment of truth in European history."

Speaking amid the chaos of arriving migrants and refugees on the Greek island of Kos, Timmermans said the EU is still looking for a balance between protecting those needing shelter and keeping those out who only seek economic fortune.

He said the "organized solidarity" of the European welfare state "would be completely undermined if we simply say everybody can come in." Timmermans added though that "Europe cannot survive either if we take leave of our values and our legal obligations" for those seeking protection from persecution and war.

He said that when it came to refugees fleeing the war in Syria, the EU and international partners, had done much less that they could have during the four years of conflict.

1:20 p.m.

Police say the 71 people found dead in a truck last week on an Austrian highway probably suffocated but it will take weeks to be able to say so for sure.

They also said the victims, found Aug. 27 on the safety lane of the main highway from Hungary, included Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees.

Hans Peter Doskozil, police chief in Burgenland where the truck was found, said Friday that in a similar case on the same day the bodies were found, 81 migrants managed to pry open another truck with a crow bar to gain access to fresh air.

He said no identities have yet been established and forensic work will continue for weeks to definitively establish the cause of death.

This entry has been corrected to show that the second truck incident happened on the same day that the bodies were found.

12:45 p.m.

German police say they're investigating a fire at home for asylum seekers in the western state of Hesse in which five people were injured.

Police told the dpa news agency Friday that it was too early to say when they might be able to determine whether the blaze overnight in the entrance hall to the building in Heppenheim was arson.

One man was seriously injured after he jumped from the second floor, while four others are being treated for minor smoke inhalation. The approximately 60 residents are being cared for by the Red Cross as the damage to the building is assessed.

Germans have generally been welcoming to the recent flood of migrants but there have been a string of similar attacks, primarily on unoccupied homes for asylum-seekers.

In Estonia, more than 50 people, including 13 children, were evacuated from an asylum center in Vao on Thursday following a fire that is being investigated as arson. No one was injured.

12:30 p.m.

The U.N. refugee agency says Britain will take a further 4,000 Syrian refugees from camps in the Middle East.

"We obviously welcome very much the move to increase resettlement spaces for Syrians in the UK. Those spaces are going to be critical to the lives and future of 4,000 people," said spokeswoman Melissa Fleming.

"We certainly believe that there's the momentum here" for other countries to follow suit.

Earlier, British Prime Minister David Cameron said only that his country would accept "thousands" more people, on top of the 5,000 already announced, and would give details next week.

A spokeswoman in the 10 Downing Street press office refused to confirm or deny the figure of 4,000, saying that no specifics would be provided until next week. She declined to be identified in line with government policy.

—By Jamey Keaten in Geneva and Greg Katz in London.

12:10 p.m.

Greece's coast guard says it has rescued hundreds of refugees and migrants from the sea near the eastern Aegean islands, a daily occurrence as hundreds of thousands flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia toward Europe.

The coast guard said it picked up 535 people in 12 incidents off the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Agathonissi, Kalolymnos and Kos from Thursday morning to Friday morning. That doesn't include hundreds who make it to the islands from the nearby Turkish coast themselves.

Greece's eastern islands have been overwhelmed by the massive influx, and ferry tickets to the mainland have been scarce during the tourist season. Scuffles broke out with police at Lesbos port Friday when about 1,000 people tried to rush onto a ferry to Piraeus, local media reported.

11:50 a.m.

British Prime Minister David Cameron says the United Kingdom will accept "thousands more" Syrian refugees to help Europe cope with a massive influx of migrants and refugees.

Cameron said Friday his country has already agreed to take around 5,000 Syrians fleeing from their country's war but as the crisis has grown it planned to accept more.

He said in a statement during an official visit to Lisbon, Portugal, that his government will announce next week how many more people it will receive and under what terms.

He said Britain intends to take Syrians directly from refugee camps in the Middle East, not from places where they have arrived in Europe.

He said "Britain will act with our head and our heart" on the issue. He did not take reporters' questions.

© Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The latest news from the crisis of migrants pouring into countries across Europe. All times local (CET):3 p.m.EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, speaking during a visit to the Greek island of Kos Friday, says a center will be set up at Greece's main port of...
EU,Europe,Migrants,The Latest
Friday, 04 September 2015 09:04 AM
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