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Tags: EU | Europe | Migrants | The Latest

The Latest: Merkel Says Integration Key for Refugees

The Latest: Merkel Says Integration Key for Refugees

Saturday, 24 October 2015 07:18 AM EDT

BREZICE, Slovenia (AP) — The latest news as asylum-seekers make their way across Europe by the tens of thousands, fleeing war or seeking a better life. All times local:

1:05 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it is important to try to quickly integrate a flood of newcomers into society, stressing the importance of jobs, education and learning the German language.

Merkel said in her weekly podcast Saturday that Germany had learned its lessons from the 1960s when a wave of migrants arrived as "guest workers." It was thought they would eventually return home but instead many have remained for generations.

She says less-educated refugees should be given training to help get them jobs, and that children should be quickly put into schools.

Merkel is proposing a 600-hour integration course to help refugees learn the language and culture, which could begin even before asylum is officially granted.

Germany's also implementing new rules to quickly send home migrants who don't qualify for asylum.

12:45 p.m.

An official in Cyprus says a "small number" from the 114 migrants whose two boats landed at a British air base earlier this week have claimed asylum.

Base spokeswoman Connie Pierce says RAF Akrotiri "is not a route through which people will be able to get to the U.K."

Pierce said Saturday that base authorities are working with the Cyprus government to process the mostly Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian nationals and handle all asylum claims.

She said a temporary facility is being set up on base territory to house the people if it's deemed necessary to move them.

Britain fears that its two sovereign bases on Cyprus could be seen by traffickers as an easy back door to Britain.

12:40 p.m.

Authorities say thousands more migrants arrived overnight in the locality of Berkasovo in western Serbia on the border with Croatia.

They're part of the flood now trying to make to Western Europe via Croatia and Slovenia instead of Hungary, which has erected high, razor-wire fences along its borders with Serbia and Croatia.

Niklas Stoerup Agerup, a field protection officer with the U.N. refugee agency, said Saturday some 3,000 migrants arrived at the border with Croatia overnight.

But he says people are moving along on buses through the night. He says there's been a "continuous outflow of people as well as an inflow."

Mahmoad Al Haj was among those waiting.

"I have a degree in economy," says the 30-year-old Syrian. "I want to make a job in Denmark."

12:30 p.m.

Thousands of migrants are shouting 'I need go' as they wait in an overcrowded migrant center in Slovenia to move on toward Western Europe.

Tensions were building again Saturday at the Brezice camp near the border with Croatia where a fire broke out burning down several tents earlier this week.

Migrants at Brezice are waiting for transport further west to Austria. Thousands are packed behind metal barriers guarded by riot police and armored vehicles.

The migrant flow has slowed down in tiny Slovenia which has complained it lacks manpower and equipment to handle the influx of tens of thousands of people crossing through the country.

The so-called Balkan migrant route switched to Slovenia a week ago when Hungary closed its border with Croatia forcing the tide to move.

11:00 a.m.

Amnesty International is warning of a humanitarian disaster unless countries on the Balkans migrant route come up with a plan at a summit this weekend on how to tackle the crisis.

The group's branch in Slovenia said in a statement Saturday that migrants are still often forced to sleep outside on their way to Western Europe, and that conditions will become more severe as winter set in.

The group says Sunday's summit in Brussels of several EU and Balkan nations must result in a solution.

Leaders "must not walk away from another meeting without a feasible plan on how to protect the needs and rights of the refugees," the group insists.

10:45 a.m.

Swedish police say an early-morning fire has destroyed a house intended to house refugees in Eskiltuna near Stockholm. Two people are reported missing.

Spokesman Paul Edenstrom says the whereabouts of a couple who were listed as living at the address is not known, but they were believed to be in the building when the fire started.

Edenstrom said the fire is being investigated as a case of arson.

In recent weeks, Sweden has seen a spate of arson attacks on asylum centers or buildings to be used as such as an influx of refugees has surged. Immigration officials estimate some 190,000 asylum-seekers will arrive this year, second only to Germany in Western Europe.

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

The latest news as asylum-seekers make their way across Europe by the tens of thousands, fleeing war or seeking a better life. All times local:1:05 p.m.German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it is important to try to quickly integrate a flood of newcomers into society,...
EU,Europe,Migrants,The Latest
Saturday, 24 October 2015 07:18 AM
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