The Latest: Italy wants to pay less to help asylum-seekers
BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on immigration into Europe (all times local):
Italy’s hard-line interior minister is taking steps to reduce the amount of money Italy spends on asylum-seekers, decreeing that only some will get expanded social services aimed at helping them integrate.
The interior ministry said a directive designates two levels of services: basic services that all asylum-seekers receive, and expanded services for those deserving of special protection, such as unaccompanied minors.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has spearheaded the new Italian government’s anti-migrant line, has vowed to reduce the amount of money Italy spends on each migrant from 35 euros a day to 25 euros ($41 to $29). He says the reduction would bring Italy in line with other European countries.
The directive announced Monday also covers service provider contracts and envisages cooperation with Italy’s anti-corruption agency. There have been several cases of organized crime infiltrating the provision of services at migrant centers.
Croatian police have denied reports that the European Union nation’s border guards have been using violence against migrants attempting to enter from neighboring Bosnia.
Police told The Associated Press on Monday that they “have not recorded” such incidents along Croatia’s border with Bosnia and other neighbors.
The response comes after the Red Cross last week warned it has received reports that dozens of people who tried to cross the border from Bosnia were being treated daily for injuries. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies also have said some migrants recounted being beaten by Croatian border guards, but that IFRC could not verify the accounts.
IFRC says more than 8,000 people have entered Bosnia this year while trying to reach Western Europe through the Balkans.
Italy’s foreign minister says Rome will allow migrants rescued by a European Union naval operation to land over the coming weeks while EU nations figure out how to divide up new arrivals.
Italy has launched a crackdown on migration and is seeking to renegotiate Operation Sophia’s mandate to prevent rescued migrants from being brought exclusively to Italy.
Sophia’s commander recently ordered participating ships to return to port, but on Monday German officials said a German ship participating in the operation had put out to sea again.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday that, over the next five weeks, EU countries will discuss how people rescued can be distributed in Europe.
His Italian counterpart Enzo Moavero Milanesi said that, in the meantime, Italy will allow rescued migrants to disembark there.