October 13, 2016 - 10:51 AM
BRUSSELS - The Latest on the influx of asylum-seekers and migrants in Europe(all times local):
The European Union's top migration official says the bloc's executive arm will allow northern European countries to keep border controls in place if migrant arrivals continue to pose a threat to public order.
EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said Thursday that requests with "justifiable reasons" to continue ID checks will be considered.
But he warned: "We are not going to have for long periods a reintroduction of border controls."
Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden have been permitted to carry out checks until Nov. 12 due to migration pressures. Germany signalled Thursday that it will seek to have the checks prolonged.
It is likely the nations will be granted a six-month extension.
Germany and Switzerland are stepping up patrols along their common border to stop migrants from travelling northward in breach of European Union asylum rules.
Switzerland, which isn't a member of the bloc, has become a key transit country for migrants who cross the Mediterranean, land in Italy and want to continue to Germany and Scandinavia.
Germany's Interior Ministry said Thursday that police recorded about 4,500 illegal border crossings from Switzerland between January and August of this year.
It said the two countries would work more closely to stop people from illegally entering Germany — particularly by train — and return those who have.
Last year, around 890,000 people arrived in Germany seeking asylum. EU rules require asylum-seekers to file their request in the first EU member state they enter.
Pope Francis has denounced the forced repatriation of unaccompanied children migrants who flee wars and poverty.
The pontiff says that countries should try to meet their needs and the needs of their families rather than return them to uncertain futures.
Francis took up the plight of child migrants in his annual message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Thursday.
History's first Latin American pope didn't cite specific cases, but the plight of unaccompanied children crossing into Mexico from Central America en route to the U.S. has been a concern of Catholic bishops and Catholic grassroots organizations for years.
Macedonia has again extended the state of emergency declared at the height of Europe's migration crisis along its borders with Greece and Serbia until the end of June 2017.
The decision was made by the country's parliament Thursday. Macedonia first imposed a state of emergency on its southern and northern borders in August 2015 for a six-month period. It has been renewed a few times since.
About 1 million refugees and other migrants transited through Macedonia last year on their way to Europe's prosperous heartland.
The country erected a 20-kilometre (13-mile) long metal fence along the border with Greece last November to stop illegal crossings.
More than 200 people remain stranded in Macedonia since the Balkan transit route was closed this year after a series of countries sealed their borders to refugees and other migrants.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says Italy is not doing enough to screen arriving migrants and is failing to ensure that people who do not qualify for asylum are sent home.
Cazeneuve told reporters in Luxembourg Thursday that "we have to do what was decided," by properly screening people from northern Africa at registration centres known as "hotspots."
He says "it's unthinkable that some of those who arrive in Italy do not pass through the hotspots, otherwise we are taking a security risk."
Cazeneuve says most migrants who come to Italy want to improve their way of life and are not fleeing conflict. He said these people "who do not qualify for protection in Europe must be sent back."
Around 150,000 migrants have entered Italy by sea this year.
Aid groups have asked a court to delay government plans to close a wretched migrant camp in the French port of Calais, arguing that authorities aren't ready to relocate its thousands of residents.
Concern has been mounting particularly about hundreds of unaccompanied children in the so-called "jungle" camp in Calais, a troubling symbol of Europe's migrant crisis.
Thierry Kuhn of aid group Emmaus said Thursday that the groups filed an emergency request with a court in Lille seeking to delay the closure. A decision is expected within 48 hours.
The government is expected to close the camp in the coming weeks and relocate migrants to centres around France, but has not given a firm shutdown date. The camp has attracted migrants from the Mideast and Africa seeking to reach Britain.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016