ATHENS, Greece (AP) - The Latest on the influx of migrants into Europe (all times local):
Croatia says it will limit the migrant flow across the Balkans to 2,500 people a day and will include only those fleeing wars, but excluding those who are seeking jobs or want to join their families in Germany and Austria.
Croatia’s interior ministry said Tuesday it was acting on the newly announced Slovenian and Austrian limits and has informed the neighboring countries on the Balkan migrant corridor.
The Croatian ministry says that the number of migrants who will be admitted corresponds to the current daily total. Last year, the number of migrants crossing the corridor that leads from Greece to Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia was over 10,000 a day.
The ministry says that Slovenia has prevented some 200 migrants from entering over the past weekend.
Austria’s interior minister says the country is preparing to limit the number of asylum-seekers entering as early as this week.
Johanna Mikl-Leitner gave no firm number Tuesday of the maximum daily entries over the Balkan route that begins in Greece and now ends on Austria’s border with Slovenia, saying only “we will set quotas.”
Slovene media report that Austrian officials have told their Slovene counterparts that 2,500 a day will be able to cross. That’s the approximate number now entering Austria including those heading onward to Germany.
But the number may vary according to how many apply for asylum in Austria. Officials indicate that could be the determining factor in the daily quota of crossings.
An anti-migrant vigilante group claiming to protect citizens from perceived threats posed by asylum-seekers is recruiting members in Estonia.
The Soldiers of Odin’s Facebook page said Tuesday it was seeking to enroll men who are ready “to step out for the defense of our own people in the face of strangers.”
Estonia, with a population of 1.3 million, has had fewer than 1,000 asylum-seekers since the 1990s. It has agreed to accept 550 migrants under the EU’s relocation plan but has yet to receive a single person in that quota.
The Soldiers of Odin, which derive their name from a Norse god, was founded last year in Finland. The group claims about 600 members in Finland with groups in Britain, the U.S., Estonia, Germany and Sweden.
Austria plans to extend border controls to Italy as it plans for possible shifts in migrant flows to the country.
An Interior Ministry statement Tuesday says checkpoints will be set up at the Silian, Brenner and Nauders-Reschenpass crossings. Eight other new check points will be established on the country’s border to Slovenia, where most of those looking to settle in Austria and further northward are now entering.
The statement also says more military personnel will be patrolling Austrian borders.
It quotes Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner that the moves are necessary “as long as there are no viable solutions on the EU outer borders.”
She is alluding to Greek problems in protecting the bloc’s external borders from the flow of migrants fleeing the Mideast and other regions of war and poverty.
Danish police say they have not seized any money or valuables from asylum-seekers since a contentious new law permitting them to do so came into force last month.
Police spokesman Thomas Christensen says officers have not searched migrants or their belongings, merely asking them to declare assets worth more than 10,000 kroner ($1,500). The Jan. 26 law brings asylum rules into line with welfare rules for Danes, who have to sell assets worth more than 10,000 kroner before they can receive social benefits.
Christensen said Tuesday that the cellphones of some asylum-seekers with deficient identification had been temporarily seized to establish their identities.
Last year, more than 21,000 people applied for asylum in Denmark, among the highest per capita rates in the EU and an increase of more than 40 percent on 2014.
French police have dismantled two suspected smuggling networks in a makeshift migrant camp near Dunkirk with a reputation for harboring people smuggling.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Tuesday that 10 people were in custody, among them suspected smugglers, after raids over the past two days at the Grande-Synthe camp.
Local media have reported two recent non-fatal shootings in the camp.
In 2015, 28 smuggling networks were dismantled in the Calais region - double the previous year, the Interior Ministry statement said, adding that 251 networks were dismantled nationally.
Up to 1,500 migrants, most trying to get to Britain, are currently in the squalid Grande-Synthe camp, east of Calais, where about 4,000 travelers stay.
At the initiative of Doctors Without Borders, the Grande-Synthe camp is being transferred shortly to another spot.
The Greek government says it has completed work on most of the migrant facilities it has promised its European Union partners to deliver.
But Defense Minister Panos Kammenos says the centers might not have to function to their full capacity of 24,000 people because an agreement to involve NATO in policing Greece’s sea border with Turkey will “end the immigration problem.”
Greece is the main gateway for people from the Middle East, Asia and Africa seeking a better life in Europe. About 77,000 people have reached the country’s eastern islands this year from nearby Turkey, paying smugglers for a berth on frail boats.
Government officials said Tuesday that four of five promised reception and screening centers on the islands are now functional, and the last will be ready in days.
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