The Latest: Cyprus rescues 28 Syrians, Lebanese aboard boat
BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on immigration into Europe (all times local):
Police in Cyprus say they have rescued 28 migrants, including nine children and four women, aboard a small boat located off Cape Greco on the Mediterranean island nation’s southeastern tip.
A marine police vessel escorted the boat Thursday to a nearby harbor where the 14 Syrian and 14 Lebanese migrants disembarked for processing.
Police said the migrants’ boat set sail from Tripoli, Lebanon.
Lebanon’s defense minister, Elias Bou Saab, said during a visit to Cyprus earlier this month that his country and the Cypriot government have agreed to work together on curbing boatloads of migrants from reaching the island.
Saab said Lebanon would convey information to Cypriot authorities to better coordinate in heading off such arrivals.
He said the Lebanese navy had stopped migrants trying to reach Cyprus “many times.”
The Czech Republic’s prime minister says his government is studying a legal opinion of a top European Union legal adviser who says his country, Hungary and Poland broke EU law by refusing to comply with the bloc’s migrant quota system.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis says the opinion of Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston is still new, not legally binding and the Czech Republic is analyzing it.
Although not legally binding, such recommendations are usually followed by the European Court of Justice.
Babis says “we need to wait for the court to issue a ruling, which is binding in any way.” He previously called the quota system “unacceptable and divisive.” In a legal opinion Thursday, Sharpston said the EU’s highest court should rule that the three countries “have failed to fulfill their obligations under EU law.”
The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland took in almost none over the two years the system was in operation.
A top European Union legal adviser says the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have been breaking EU law by refusing to comply with the bloc’s migrant quota scheme.
In a legal opinion Thursday, Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston said the EU’s highest court should rule that the three countries “have failed to fulfill their obligations under EU law.”
EU nations agreed in 2015 to relocate 160,000 refugees from Italy and Greece as the countries buckled under the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants.
But the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland took in almost none over the two years the scheme was in operation. The EU’s executive Commission sought an explanation but they gave no satisfactory answers.
Sharpston’s opinion is not legally binding, but such recommendations are usually followed by the European Court of Justice.
A European top official says the situation in Greece’s migrant camps is “explosive” and is urging the country’s authorities to “urgently” transfer asylum-seekers from islands to the mainland as soon as possible.
Speaking at the end of a five-day visit in Greece, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic said Thursday that “the situation of migrants, including asylum-seekers, in the Greek Aegean islands has dramatically worsened over the past 12 months.”
She says there is “a desperate lack of medical care and sanitation in the vastly overcrowded camps I have visited. People queue for hours to get food and to go to bathrooms, when these are available.”
Greek authorities are struggling to cope with a sharp rise in the number of arrivals over the summer months on Lesbos and other islands in the eastern Aegean Sea where European Union-funded camps are suffering severe overcrowding and outbreaks of violence.