(AP): The Latest: Czechs determined to say 'no' to migrant quotas

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2015 13:24:28 +0200
Hungarian soldiers work on a fence that is being built at the border with Croatia, near the village of Beremend, Hungary, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. Hungary&#39;s prime minister Viktor Orban said that millions of migrants are &quot;laying siege&quot; to the borders of his country and of Europe, putting the continent in danger. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

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


12:20 p.m.

Czech leaders say they are determined to reject the European Union's plan for compulsory quotas to distribute refugees.

Interior ministers from the 28-member EU will try to resolve the dispute on the emergency relocation of 120,000 asylum-seekers at a meeting Tuesday in Brussels. On Wednesday, EU leaders will meet again on the migrant crisis that is overwhelming the continent.

Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec, who has disputed the legality of the quota system, said at a Prague airport before leaving for Brussels that "it's an empty political gesture."

Standing by his side, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka echoed that: "We're certain that the system won't be working."

Sobotka previously said the country is ready to take in thousands but on a voluntary basis.


12:10 p.m.

Hungarian lawmakers say the European Union's "irresponsible policies" have led to the deaths of migrants whose "unbearable flow" is a burden on the country's economic development.

A resolution approved by legislators from Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party and its Christian Democrat allies, says Hungary "cannot allow illegal migrants to endanger the workplaces and social security of the Hungarian people."

The lawmakers said it was irresponsible for European politicians to encourage migrants to risk death for a better life in Europe and called on EU leaders to "return to the road of common sense" and protect Europe and it citizens.

Hungary is building fences on border sections with Serbia, Croatia and Romania to stop the free flow of migrants mostly headed to Germany and other richer EU countries.


11:35 a.m.

Norway's foreign minister warns that the refugee crisis will continue and could get worse if no political solution is found to end Syria's civil war.

Borge Brende told reporters after meeting his Lebanese counterpart Gibran Bassil in Beirut that Norway has an agreement with the U.N. refugee agency to receive "a substantial amount of refugees in the three coming years — in fact 7 percent of all the refugees that the UNHCR has asked for."

Europe is struggling to deal with the tens of thousands of refugees making the perilous trek to the continent to seek sanctuary there.

Borge warned that the situation will continue as long as there is war in Syria "so the only real solution to this is to find a political solution for Syria."


11:20 a.m.

A leading economic agency is urging rich countries to invest in integrating and training immigrants to ensure that they contribute to economies instead of draining them.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned in a report that record numbers of migrant arrivals in Europe are an "emergency situation" and there is "little hope" that it will ease soon.

The OECD called on its 34 member countries, which include the U.S. and most of Europe, to "constantly" adjust immigration policies to take into account shifts such as war in Syria and political collapse in Libya, which have driven many people to seek refuge in Europe.

The group recommends language and other training, and access to health care for migrants to improve their economic contribution.


11:10 a.m.

The U.N. refugee agency is calling on the European Union to agree this week to take in another 120,000 refugees and migrants "for any relocation program to be credible."

The UNHCR says in a statement that 477,906 people have arrived in Europe by sea this year. As EU officials meet in Brussels to discuss the crisis, the agency said a relocation program alone for now "will not be enough to stabilize the situation."

It urged the EU to quickly set up facilities in Greece, which has taken in tens of thousands of people — mainly refugees from Syria arriving through Turkey.

UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said this may be "the last opportunity for a coherent European response."


10:40 a.m.

Several hundred asylum-seekers are camping out at the Turkish border with Greece, hoping that a meeting in Brussels will produce an agreement to let them into the European Union.

In the Turkish border city of Edirne, migrants remain at a wrestling arena about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the Greek border.

Hundreds of migrants have made the trek to Edirne in the hope of being allowed to cross into neighboring Greece or Bulgaria and avoid the often-risky journey across the Aegean Sea. Many arrived last week but have been blocked from approaching the border by law enforcement. Hundreds more were stranded in Istanbul after bus companies refused to issue them tickets.

Although many have pledged to remain until the borders are opened, many have given up on a crossing and have been bused back to other cities in Turkey.


By Mehmet Guzel


9:35 a.m.

Scuffles have broken out between Croatian police and asylum-seekers after they were barred from entering a newly opened reception center meant to register those seeking sanctuary in Europe.

Troubles started at the camp, when more migrants came to the gates than authorities could handle. Police in the Croatian village of Opatovac pushed people back from the front gate, asked them to sit down and to wait their turn.

Croatia set up a migrant reception operation to try to bring order to the unrelenting chaos that has gripped the country since Sept. 15, when Hungary closed its border with Serbia. That decision diverted waves of people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia to Croatia.


9:20 a.m.

Austrian police say about 1,000 new arrivals are expected soon at the main border crossing point with Hungary, after nearly 10,000 migrants and refugees trekked into the country.

Police spokesman Helmut Marban said Tuesday that most of Monday's arrivals at the Nickelsdorf crossing east of Vienna had already been brought to emergency shelters elsewhere in the country.

He said Hungary is bringing the 1,000 people expected Tuesday to its side of the border by train.

From there, the migrants usually walk into Austria.

Received on Tue Sep 22 2015 - 07:24:29 EDT

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