The Latest: Hungary to submit anti-migration bill
BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on the flow of migrants into Europe (all times local):
The Hungarian government says it is submitting an anti-migration bill to parliament dubbed “Stop Soros,” targeting civic groups which organize, support or finance migration.
The measures propose that such groups would need permission from the interior minister for their activities.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is radically opposed to migration, claims the groups are carrying out what Orban calls a plan by Hungarian-American billionaire and philanthropist George Soros to bring millions of migrants from Africa and the Middle East to Europe.
Bence Tuzson, state secretary for government communications, said Tuesday that compared to an earlier version, the draft bill has been made even more strict based on over 600 suggestions from citizens.
Critics fear the law will be used to stigmatize or intimidate civic groups, especially those receiving funding from abroad.
European Council President Donald Tusk says the issue of managing flows of migrants to Europe will be a challenge faced for “many years to come.”
Speaking in Vienna after meeting Tuesday with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Tusk said he and the Austrian leader had “similar views” on the issue of migration.
Tusk says “migration will remain a challenge for many years to come, which is why we need to find a solution that makes sure that the EU together with the national states can manage future migration flows sufficiently without creating divisions.”
He emphasized that all European countries “need to contribute.”
He says “above all else we must put an end to the destructive emotions surrounding the issue of relocation, as they continue to fuel populism and divide Europe.”
Turkey’s state-run news agency says rescue teams searching for survivors of a migrant boat that capsized in a river along the Turkish-Greek border have recovered the bodies of two children.
Anadolu Agency said the bodies of the two boys — estimated to be aged around 5 and 3 — were discovered Tuesday.
Up to 10 migrants, including women and children, are believed to be missing after they tried to reach Greece by crossing the river, known as Meric in Turkish and Evros in Greek, in a rubber boat.
Germany’s development minister is heading to a conference on Iraq reconstruction in Kuwait with the message that the country is growing safe enough that refugees should start to consider moving home from Europe.
Gerd Mueller said in a statement Tuesday that with recent victories over the Islamic State extremist group, Germany is committed to help rebuild destroyed villages and cities in order to create the “conditions for the Iraqi refugees in Germany to return to their homeland.”
He says “the security situation is already allowing the return of internally displaced persons.”
Mueller said he will meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to discuss the “possibility of closer cooperation for the return of refugees from Germany” and Berlin’s “expectations.”
He said the impetus for reconstruction needs to come from the Iraqi government.
Turkey’s state-run news agency says emergency services are searching for up to 10 migrants reported missing after a boat capsized in a river that flows along the Turkish-Greek border.
Anadolu Agency said the emergency services were alerted on Tuesday by border guards who heard cries for help from the river, known as Meric in Turkish and Evros in Greek. The report said between eight and 10 migrants, including women and children, were trying to cross into Greece aboard the rubber boat, which was found punctured.
Separately, Turkish coast guards rescued 44 migrants from a sinking boat in the Aegean Sea.
Thousands of refugees and migrants enter Greece every year from Turkey on their way to Europe.
Most choose the sea crossing in flimsy smuggling boats to the eastern Aegean islands.
German authorities say 12,285 people applied for asylum in the country in January, a 15 percent drop compared with the same month last year.
In January 2017, Germany recorded 14,476 new asylum requests. Some 13,082 people applied for asylum in December.
Interior Ministry figures published Tuesday show most new asylum-seekers last month originated from Syria, Iraq and Nigeria.
The number of new asylum requests in Germany has steadily declined since the dramatic influx of 2015 as European countries enforce stricter border controls and clamp down on people-smuggling across the Mediterranean.