BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) – The Latest on the influx of migrants and asylum-seekers into Europe (all times local):
The first of hundreds of refugees that Germany promised to take each month from Italy is about to leave.
Italian Interior Ministry officials say some 200 Eritrean asylum-seekers will be flown Tuesday from Rome to Munich. They told The Associated Press on Monday the transfer is the first tranche of the 500 people that Germany pledged in September to take monthly from Italy.
A European Union plan calls for relocating a total of 160,000 asylum-seekers by September 2017 from Greece and Italy, where hundreds of thousands rescued from smuggler boats have arrived over the last few years.
The relocation plan has moved slowly – with only 1,549 refugees transferred from Italy and 5,437 from Greece as of last week.
Some EU countries haven’t accepted any, and some refugees refuse to go anywhere except Germany.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has visited one of the many shelters set up throughout France to relocate thousands of migrants evacuated from a sprawling slum camp in northern France.
Two dozen anti-migrant demonstrators staged a protest Monday in Croisilles, a small northern town with less than 2,000 inhabitants, where a former retirement home has been turned into a CAO refugee shelter.
Less than 40 migrants, mainly Sudanese, have been relocated there after the squalid refugee slum in the northern city of Calais was cleared out late last month.
Valls says, “unlike lies we have heard,” most of the migrants who used to be in the Calais camp and have now been scattered in some 450 CAO shelters across France will “undoubtedly” be entitled to refugee status.
Serbian police have stopped dozens of migrants who tried to cross over a field into neighboring European Union member Croatia.
About 100 migrants, wrapped in blankets and carrying rucksacks and bags, moved into the field Monday after Serbian police blocked the passage on the official border crossing. Minor skirmishes have taken place as migrants tried to push through police lines.
The group, mostly male Afghans and Pakistanis, arrived at the border during weekend after walking some 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Belgrade. They organized the protest march to demand that EU nations let them in.
They have spent the night out in the open near the border.
About 7,000 migrants have been trapped in Serbia after neighboring EU nations beefed up border controls.
The European Union is signaling it won’t take legal action against countries that refuse to share refugees from Greece and Italy as long as the overall target number of people finds new homes.
EU countries agreed just over a year ago to relocate 160,000 refugees from overwhelmed Greece and Italy by September 2017 and set obligatory quotas for each nation.
While almost 7,000 refugees have been moved, Austria, Denmark and Hungary haven’t accepted any.
European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said Monday that “it should be possible to relocate everyone and that is what it is important to focus on.”
Asked when legal action might come against those refusing to help, she said that if the overall target “is achieved, then that was the purpose of the relocation program in the first place.”
The president of Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party says it will present a draft in parliament adding anti-migrant clauses to the constitution.
While nearly identical to amendments sought by the government but rejected by parliament last week, Jobbik’s version would also ban foreigners from acquiring Hungarian residency permits in exchange for purchasing a special state bond for 300,000 euros ($323,000).
The constitutional amendments initially proposed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban were meant to strengthen the government’s position against any future European Union plan to resettle asylum-seekers among the 28-nation bloc’s members.
Orban’s Fidesz party was counting on Jobbik’s support to pass the amendments on Nov. 8, but Jobbik president Gabor Vona tied their backing to the elimination of the residency bonds purchased mostly by Chinese and Russian citizens.
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