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Tags: EU | Europe | Migrants | The Latest

The Latest: Czech PM Calls for Dialogue after Quota Setback

Wednesday, 23 September 2015 06:38 AM EDT

BRUSSELS (AP) — The latest developments as European governments struggle to cope with the huge number of people moving across Europe. All times local:

12:10 p.m.

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who opposed the EU's quota scheme to relocate 120,000 asylum-seekers in member states, says he won't take legal action against the plan.

In an email message, Sobotka said Wednesday: "Even though I don't like the use of the quotas, I don't agree with them and we voted against them, Europe must not fall apart over solving the migrant crisis."

He adds, "That's why I don't want to escalate the tension by challenge it with legal actions. There're more battles ahead of us over a realistic approach to the migrant crisis and we need our partners in Europe to listen to our arguments."

12:05 p.m.

Romania's president says his country can easily cope with the extra migrants the European Union wants it to receive, but disagrees with the way the matter was decided.

President Klaus Iohannis said Wednesday that Romania would be asked to take about 2,400 extra on top of the 1,785 already agreed.

But Romania voted against the plan on Tuesday, along with Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Iohannis says "It is an unusual and inopportune thing that a vote was forced," but he adds that "Romania is not against refugees, or receiving refugees."

Quotas, he says do "take into account the realities of every state."

11:55 a.m.

British Prime Minister David Cameron wants EU countries to deport more of the so-called economic migrants as the EU struggles to deal with a huge number of refugees arriving from the Middle East and Africa.

Cameron met French President Francois Hollande late Tuesday, and Cameron's office says they "agreed that EU countries should do more to return migrants who don't have a genuine claim for asylum to their countries of origin."

They also urged more assistance to Syria's neighbors, which have been overwhelmed by people displaced by the civil war.

EU ministers have agreed to distribute 120,000 migrants through a quota system, but Britain is not part of the bloc's borderless "Schengen" area and has opted out of the plan.

Britain has pledged instead to accept 20,000 Syrians from camps in neighboring countries by 2020.

11:45 a.m.

An up-and-coming district in Berlin is considering confiscating empty apartments to house migrants.

On Wednesday, assembly members in the district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg will debate a proposal to seize several properties including parts of Riehmers Hofgarten, an ornate bloc of houses from the late 19th century.

The proposal was put forward by the Green Party, which has 22 of the 49 seats in the assembly. Property owners would receive compensation for the use of their property.

German cities are struggling to house hundreds of thousands of migrants who have come to the country this year seeking to escape war, persecution and poverty.

11:40 a.m.

Deeply divided European Union leaders have been called to an emergency summit to seek long-term responses to the continent's ballooning crisis of refugees and migrants, a historic challenge EU President Donald Tusk said the bloc has failed dismally to meet.

In a letter to presidents and prime ministers of member states, Tusk writes: "There is a long list of issues where we could blame one another, but it will not help us in finding a common solution."

He adds: "Today we must absolutely work out policies that we can implement in order to help each other."

11:30 a.m.

Slovak media used strong words to express bitter feelings after European Union interior ministers approved a plan to relocate 120,000 asylum-seekers .

Slovakia opposed the plan along with the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary.

A headline in Hospodarske Noviny, a business daily said Wednesday: "The Germans won a blitzkrieg," adding "they took the rest of our sovereignty."

The daily Pravda's front page said: "Slovakia suffered a loss in its fight against the quotas."

10:35 a.m.

The European Union hopes to provide more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in aid to Syrian refugees and release another 1 billion euros for Turkey, the host for almost 2 million people who have fled the conflict.

The EU's executive Commission plans to allocate more than 300 million euros to top up its "trust fund" for Syrian refugees.

Johannes Hahn, the commissioner responsible for ties with the EU's neighbors, said Wednesday that "this is a signal and hopefully will stimulate our member states to do the same," and push the total to 1 billion euros.

He also says the Commission is working with Turkey to free up 1 billion euros earmarked for that country's EU membership process as a short-term measure to help deal with the refugee influx.

10:10 a.m.

Austrian police say that about 2,500 migrants and refugees have arrived at the main border point between Austria and Hungary, a day after 5,000 crossed into Austria.

Police spokesman Helmut Marban says the new arrivals were bused to the Hungarian side of the Nickelsdorf crossing point early Wednesday. From there they are walking into Austria.

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

The latest developments as European governments struggle to cope with the huge number of people moving across Europe. All times local:12:10 p.m.Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who opposed the EU's quota scheme to relocate 120,000 asylum-seekers in member states, says...
EU,Europe,Migrants,The Latest
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 06:38 AM
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