The Latest: Hungary declares emergency in 2 border counties
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) -- The latest developments as European governments rush to cope with the huge number of people moving across Europe. All times local (CET): ------ 11:35 a.m. Hungary has declared a state of emergency in two of its southern counties bordering Serbia because of the migration crisis, giving special powers to police and other authorities. Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said the decision was made at Tuesday's Cabinet meeting. The measure also paves the way for the deployment of the army to assist police with border patrol and migrant-related duties -- pending approval from parliament which is expected next week. On Tuesday, Hungary began enforcing tougher rules on people entering the country illegally and also increased prison terms for convicted human traffickers. ------ 11:25 a.m. Germany's vice chancellor says Europe has again made a fool of itself in the migration crisis and is calling for a summit soon of the 28-nation bloc's leaders. EU interior ministers meeting Monday fell short of agreeing on the redistribution of 120,000 newcomers around the bloc -- something that Germany, which has seen the biggest number of migrants, is keen to see. Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said Tuesday that "Europe made a fool of itself again yesterday." He added: "Europe's heads of state and government must meet quickly, because this cannot peter out in such ministerial meetings so that we don't move one step further." Gabriel said that "what we are experiencing now threatens Europe much more than the Greek crisis." ------ 10:20 a.m. Germany's interior minister says he doesn't plan to increase his official forecast that 800,000 migrants will arrive in the country this year, after the vice chancellor said 1 million newcomers were likely. Thomas de Maiziere told ZDF television Tuesday: "I don't want to change the figures." He added that "anything you say here leads to a strange psychological effect." De Maiziere said in mid-August that Germany could see as many as 800,000 migrants arriving this year, four times last year's number. He said Tuesday that, in Afghanistan, some took that to mean that Germany was introducing a quota of 800,000 and they had to rush to get in. Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said in a letter to members of his center-left party Monday that there could be a million arrivals. ------ 10:10 a.m. Germany's interior minister is backing the idea of cutting European Union funding to countries that refuse to share the burden of hosting refugees. Several EU countries, particularly in the former Eastern bloc, have rejected calls from Germany and the EU's executive Commission for mandatory quotas to spread refugees out among the 28-nation bloc. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Tuesday there needs to be discussion of how to exert pressure. He told ZDF television that the countries rejecting quotas often receive significant amounts of EU funding. He said that Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has suggested -- "and I find that right" -- that "we should talk about (them) getting less money from the structural funds." ------ 9:50 a.m. Hungarian police say two crossings on the border with Serbia have been closed to all traffic as stricter rules about the entry of migrants are applied. Col. Laszlo Balazs said Tuesday that the measure affects the smaller of two border crossings near the village of Roszke and one checkpoint at the village of Asotthalom. Balazs said he had "no information" about where migrants seeking to apply for asylum in Hungary would be let in. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has indicated that asylum requests from migrants trying to enter Hungary from Serbia will be rejected because Serbia is a safe country where migrants do not risk war or persecution. Some 200,000 migrants have reached Hungary so far in 2015, nearly all by walking across the southern border with Serbia. ------ 9:10 a.m. The Hungarian government is expected to declare a state of emergency due to the large number of refugees and others who have been entering the country. The state of emergency would allow the government to mobilize the army -- pending parliamentary approval next week -- to help police with border control, force courts to prioritize cases involving people caught entering Hungary illegally and give police the power to search homes without a warrant if they suspect migrants may be hiding there. The Cabinet will make a decision about declaring the state of emergency at its meeting on Tuesday. Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in an interview on Hungarian broadcaster TV2 that he expects the Cabinet to do so. ------ 9:05 a.m. Hundreds of migrants have spent a night in tents or out in the open on the Serbian side of the border with Hungary awaiting the opening of the crossing at Roszke, which was closed shortly after midnight. Hundreds continue to arrive, though Serbian border guards say that the crossing into Hungary will no longer be open. Two official crossings will allow migrants to cross, but will only allow in those who have applied for asylum in Serbia. Those who have not will be returned to Serbia. Serbian officials have said they will not accept migrants back from Hungary.
Tuesday, January 23 2018 10:33 PM EST2018-01-24 03:33:53 GMT
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