- Associated Press - Sunday, February 28, 2016

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Latest on Europe’s immigration crisis. (all times local):

5 p.m.

Hungary’s prime minister says he has ordered the country’s interior and defense ministers to begin preparing defenses along the border with Romania to prevent migrants from entering.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban says Sunday that “if necessary, we will protect ourselves all the way from Slovenia to Ukraine.” Last year, Hungary built fences on its borders with Serbia and Croatia to divert the migrant flow.

Orban said Sunday that European Union bureaucrats and Germany’s welcoming culture toward migrants are to blame for Europe’s migrant crisis.

Orban also lashed out at an initial EU plan to redistribute over 100,000 migrants among the bloc’s 28 nations. He says Brussels is looking to set up a “mandatory, permanent and continuous redistribution system” for the migrants.


4:35 p.m.

Two former military barracks, one of them designated as a future refugee camp against local opposition, have been attacked by arsonists in northern Greece.

The unknown assailants set fire late Saturday to a building in the first barracks in the city of Giannitsa, 50 kilometers (31 miles) northwest of Thessaloniki. The building was being used by the city as a warehouse storing wood and paper. The building’s roof and the materials inside have burned down.

Another former barracks in the city, this one completely abandoned, was burned down Sunday morning.

The mayor and city inhabitants have opposed government plans to house refugees in one of the barracks, saying they are too close to the city center and near schools. They say they have suggested other locations.


12:45 p.m.

Pope Francis says a concerted response is needed to Europe’s migrant problem so that countries share equally the burden of helping those fleeing war and other “inhumane” situations.

Francis is praising Greece and other countries offering “generous” help while being on the front line of the arrivals. Speaking to people in St. Peter’s Square Sunday, Francis said a “concerted response can be more effective and distribute equally the weight” of helping the migrants.

He pressed for decisive negotiations by countries to achieve this and said he always keeps the “drama of the refugees” in his prayers.

Francis also welcomed the news of the cease-fire in Syria with hope and invited prayers so this development might bring relief to those suffering from the civil war and lead to peace.

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