The Latest: Migrant sea arrivals up sharply in Spain in 2017




  • In World/Asia
  • 2017-08-11 14:56:58Z
  • By Associated Press
 

BERLIN (AP) - The Latest on Europe's response to the large number of refugees and migrants trying to reach the continent (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

About 30 migrants from Africa arrived in a boat on a southern Spanish beach two days ago and scattered among startled sunbathers. A day later, around 700 others tried unsuccessfully to storm the border crossing between Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta and Morocco.

The two incidents were just the latest evidence of what experts said was a major increase in migrant pressure on Spain in recent months, with some saying the country could overtake Greece in the number of migrants arriving by sea this year.

The latest figures from the International Organization for Migration showed 8,385 migrants had arrived by sea to Spain this year, more than double that of the same period for last year.

It and Spain's Red Cross believe the numbers are likely to increase.

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3:15 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that while a lot has been done to address the causes of mass migration and to slow the flow of refugees to Europe, there is still a lot more to do.

Merkel famously opened Germany's doors to asylum-seekers in 2015. Some 890,000 migrants entered the country that year, many fleeing civil war in Syria.

The numbers have dropped significantly since then, in a large part due to a deal the European Union struck with Turkey to keep migrants there.

Speaking Friday with the heads of the United Nations' refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration, Merkel said she hoped a similar arrangement could be worked out with Libya, another key launching point for Europe-bound migrants.

She says Germany is willing to increase aid for migrant facilities in Libya and promoting the north African nation's stability, but acknowledges "there's a lot that lies ahead for us."

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11:20 a.m.

A court in southern Germany has convicted three Syrian men over the drowning deaths of 13 migrants off the coast of Greece in September 2015.

Prosecutors accused the men of "professional smuggling of people resulting in death."

The court in Traunstein near the Austrian border on Friday sentenced the 27-year-old main defendant to four years in prison for organizing the boat that was to take Syrian refugees from Turkey to the island of Lesbos.

The boat struck a freighter shortly before reaching shore, killing 13 people. Two children are still missing.

Judges sentenced the man who drove the boat to two years in prison. A third man, who acted as a liaison for families, received a two-year suspended sentence.

The three defendants had come to Germany as refugees themselves.

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