CALAIS, France (AP) – The Latest on the migrant influx into Europe.
NATO’s chief says the alliance could return any migrants it rescues in the Aegean Sea to Turkey if they set out from that country.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Turkey and its allies have agreed that “if the people were rescued by NATO, if they come from Turkey, we can return them to Turkey.”
He told EU lawmakers Tuesday that NATO ships have already been doing monitoring work in the Aegean while mission details are sorted out.
NATO wants to help Greece, Turkey, and the EU border agency Frontex with surveillance in the sea, which thousands of migrants have been crossing daily. NATO vessels are obliged to help boats in distress, but rescue work is not their aim. Still, Stoltenberg insisted that NATO would not turn migrant boats back.
Belgium is reinforcing its borders with France close to Calais to avoid a flood of people crossing the border if the migrant camp there gets closed.
Interior Minister Jan Jambon said Belgium has told the European Union authorities of the Schengen borderless zone it will temporarily reimpose border controls.
Jambon said that up to 290 police officials a day will be used to make sure that no camps are set up on the Belgian side of the border and that migrants cannot slip aboard Britain-bound ships in the port of Zeebrugge.
Austria’s chancellor is citing parts of a letter from the EU’s top refugee official critical of his country’s cap on migrant entries to argue that Austria’s move is warranted.
Werner Faymann says the letter from Dimitris Avramopoulos notes that “no one must be waved through” EU borders. He also says the letter stipulates that “someone who already had the chance to request asylum somewhere else in the European Union can and will be turned away.”
As of last Friday Austria is allowing no more than 80 people a day to enter its southern border points. It is also restricting the total number of those in transit to other EU nations further north to 3,200 a day.
Faymann, in comments to reporters Tuesday, said he is standing by the restrictions.