The Latest: Turkey official says EU migrant deal may fail
Updated 12:08 pm, Wednesday, October 19, 2016
MADRID (AP) — The Latest on the influx of asylum-seekers and migrants in Europe (all times local):
A Turkish official says a deal to stop migrants from reaching the European Union could collapse by end of the year if the EU fails to grant visa-free travel to Turkish citizens.
Omer Celik, the minister in charge of EU affairs, was referring to an agreement under which Turkey agreed to help stop the flow of migrants and take back Syrians who crossed illegally into the EU. The EU, in turn, agreed to relax visa restrictions on Turkish citizens among other terms.
The visa deal however hit a snag over Turkey's refusal to amend its anti-terror laws. Celik said Turkey is facing terrorism from multiple fronts and changing the laws would mean endangering both Turkey and Europe's security.
More than one million migrants entered the EU illegally last year, most of them using rubber boats to cross from Turkey to Greece. The number of people making the crossing dropped dramatically since the EU-Turkey deal came into effect.
Serbia says it should be treated like a European Union member and receive help in handling the influx of migrants seeking to reach the EU via the Balkan country.
Labor Minister Aleksandar Vulin was quoted Wednesday as telling EU officials in Brussels that Serbia should be included in an agreement with Afghanistan facilitating the return of rejected asylum seekers.
The official Tanjug news agency quoted Vulin as saying: "Serbia is not an EU member, but the citizens of Afghanistan and Pakistan are on our territory with an aim to reach the EU."
Serbia has complained it was received less EU aid than member states although it is at the center of the so-called Balkan route used by migrants fleeing war and poverty. Some 6,000 migrants remain stuck in the country.
British dentists have rejected a lawmaker's suggestion that young migrants should have their teeth tested to ensure they are really children.
A group of 14 young migrants arrived in London this week from a camp in France, to be reunited with relatives in Britain.
Officials say they were aged between 14 and 17, but Conservative legislator David Davies said they "don't look like 'children.'"
He said British people "want to help children but we don't want to be taken for a free ride," and said dental X-rays could be used to determine their age.
The British Dental Association said Wednesday that the method was inaccurate for assessing age, adding that "it is both inappropriate and unethical to take radiographs of people when there is no health benefit for them."
The camerawoman who was filmed last year kicking and trying to trip migrants near Hungary's border with Serbia has accepted an award for a documentary.
According to Hungarian media, Petra Laszlo, credited as the editor of the 32-minute film "Nemzetidegen" ("Foreign To The Nation"), accepted the award last week at a film festival. The documentary, about a freedom fighter in Hungary's 1956 revolution, was written and directed by her husband.
Laszlo, who has otherwise been out of the public eye for months, was indicted last month on charges of breaching the peace for her actions in September 2015.
Opposition parties protested the award for the film, which received public funds.
Deputy parliamentary speaker Sandor Lezsak, a member of Hungary's ruling Fidesz party, was shown congratulating Laszlo in photos and video in local reports.
Nearly 40 migrants have ended an overnight protest on the rooftop of a detention center in Spain's capital.
The migrants, most reported to be from Algeria, shouted for "Freedom" and "Dignity" during the protest, which began late Tuesday.
Police cordoned off the area around the center on Madrid's outskirts, but the protest finished peacefully early Wednesday following negotiations with officials.
Spain has nine detention centers that are used to hold migrants considered to be in the country illegally.
Rights groups have long criticized the centers, saying migrants live in prison-like conditions, and have called for their closure.