The Latest: France orders expulsion of swath of Calais camp
BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on the massive influx of migrants into Europe (all times local):
An expulsion order has been issued for hundreds of migrants living in a huge swath of the Calais camp known locally as “the jungle,” demanding that they remove their makeshift homes and possessions within four days.
The order, published Friday by the regional prefecture, says residents of the camp’s southern sector must clear out by 8 p.m. Tuesday so it can be razed.
Authorities estimate that 800-1,000 migrants live in that sector, crammed with shops, cafes, mosques and churches. Humanitarian groups say there are many more.
Most of the approximately 4,000 migrants in Calais want to sneak to Britain.
Authorities want them to move to nearby heated containers or welcome centers around France to reconsider those plans.
The order says security concerns, lack of hygiene and dignity make the expulsion urgent
The most prominent domestic critic of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s migrant policy is demanding that a planned European Union summit with Turkey next month produce results.
EU leaders meeting Thursday and Friday made little progress on the migrant crisis but they decided to hold a summit next month with Turkey, which Merkel sees as the key to reducing the flow of refugees. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu scrapped plans to travel to Brussels this week following a bombing in Ankara.
Bavarian governor Horst Seehofer, who leads the smallest party in Germany’s governing coalition, has long pressed Merkel for tougher border controls and a cap on refugee numbers. He said Friday: “We expect the special meeting in March to bring results and not be a meeting that produces another postponement.”
German officials have voiced shock after a video emerged showing a screaming mob blocking a bus full of migrants in the eastern state of Saxony.
State Interior Minister Markus Ulbig condemned the incident Friday, saying it was “deeply shameful.” A video circulating on social media shows several migrants inside the bus crying as people outside chant “We are the people!” and “Go home!”
Saxony police spokesman Rafael Scholz says the video showed an incident late Thursday in Clausnitz, 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of Dresden. He told The Associated Press that 100 people took part in the anti-migrant protest but police were able to prevent violence.
Scholz says police are investigating verbal threats of violence but there were no arrests.
Hungary’s interior minister says his country is closing down three railway border crossings with neighboring Croatia to block any possible entry of migrants.
Sandor Pinter said Friday that the crossings will be closed because Croatian authorities have sent a train full of migrants toward Hungary under police escort.
Pinter did not say when exactly the crossings are to be closed or when the train was sent. Local media have reported the border crossings will remain shut for 30 days.
Tens of thousands of migrants crossed over to Hungary from Croatia last year before Hungary built a razor wire fence and decided to close down its borders for migrants in October, diverting the flow to Slovenia.
Austria’s interior minister is signaling that her country could further reduce its newly introduced cap on the number of asylum seekers entering the country.
Vienna’s decision to allow no more than 80 people a day to apply for asylum at its southern border points starting Friday is the latest in a series of uncoordinated and unilateral measures by individual nations as the European Union has struggled to find common answers to the influx of migrants. Austria pressed ahead despite claims the move would break the law, though — possibly because of bad weather in the Aegean Sea — its main border crossing with Slovenia was clear of migrants Friday.
The Austria Press Agency quoted Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner as saying Friday: “We will subsequently have to reduce the daily upper limits further.” She didn’t name a timeframe or number but said such moves would be consulted on with neighboring countries.
An Italian coast guard helicopter has spotted the bodies of two migrants on the shores of the Italian island of Sicily.
Coast Guard Cmdr. Filippo Marini told Sky TG24 TV that a small boat which washed ashore nearby Friday morning is believed to have been full of migrants.
Police stopped eight migrants, including two children, at the scene. Marini said survivors told authorities the boat had been carrying 40 migrants and the others had already fled before authorities arrived. The migrants said they were Libyans and Tunisians.
Smugglers daily send unseaworthy boats from Libya toward Italy across the Mediterranean Sea. After the rescued migrants arrive on land, many slip away to reach relatives in northern Europe, where they seek asylum.
Some 300,000 migrants were rescued off Italy in 2014-2015, but so far this year far fewer have arrived.
No migrants are arriving at Austria’s main border crossing with Slovenia — a situation police say may be due to bad weather in the Aegean Sea — as Vienna introduces a plan to cap the number of arriving asylum-seekers
Austria announced earlier this week it would allow a maximum 80 people a day to apply for asylum at its southern border points, starting Friday. It said it would press ahead despite claims the move was illegal.
Police spokesman Fritz Grundnig said at the Spielfeld crossing no refugees were expected Friday. He said the reason isn’t clear but “we assume that there was a weather problem in the Aegean a couple of days ago.”
In neighboring Germany, Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate said Berlin views Austria’s quota plans “with a certain skepticism.”
The leaders of Germany and France are meeting Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras amid growing worry about Greece’s lack of control over thousands of migrants crossing its borders into the European Union every week.
Tsipras, Chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s Francois Hollande are talking on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Brussels on Friday. Six hours of talks the night before highlighted still-deep divisions across the continent about how to deal with the EU’s worst-ever refugee crisis.
Officials said leaders at Thursday’s talks argued over conflicting national reactions to the migrant influx, and the potential collapse of Europe’s border-free travel.
The EU’s executive Commission has given Greece three months to restore order on its borders, but few believe Athens will be able to meet the deadline.