The Latest: Danish couple fined for assisting migrants


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on the mass migration into Europe (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

A court in southern Denmark has fined an outspoken children’s rights activist and her partner for driving six Syrian migrants from a Danish ferry terminal to a bridge to Sweden, where they are believed to have sought asylum.

The city court in Nykoebing ruled Friday Lisbeth Zornig Andersen and Mikael Rauno Lindholm were guilty of violating Danish immigration laws forbidding assisting foreigners to cross Denmark illegally.

They were each fined 22,500 kroner ($3,330) for driving four adults and two children to the Oresund bridge in early September.

Andersen, the former chairwoman of the National Council for Children and debater, said “the court needed to set an example, because I am a known person.”

In January, another Danish citizen was fined for driving five migrants to Sweden.

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4:00 p.m.

Slovakia’s foreign ministry has accused the Greek ambassador to Bratislava of meddling in the country’s internal affairs over his criticism of Prime Minister Robert Fico’s anti-migrant stance in the election campaign.

Campaigning on an anti-migrant ticket, Fico’s leftist Smer-Social Democracy party won the ballot Saturday with 28.3 percent of the vote, or 49 seats in the 150-seat Parliament and needs coalition partners to rule.

President Andrej Kiska has asked Fico to try to form a government. If he fails, it would give a chance to a center-right coalition government.

In an interview with the Dennik N newspaper Tuesday, ambassador Nicolas Plexidas said Fico contributed to the rise of xenophobia in Slovakia and the surprise election success of a neo-Nazi party.

The ministry says Plexidas’ comments are “unacceptable.”

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11:45 a.m.

Authorities in Greece say they hope an overcrowded refugee camp on the Greek-Macedonian border can be emptied within two weeks, as people are slowly persuaded to move to nearby government-built shelters.

Nikos Toskas, a deputy minister for public order, ruled out using force to move the 14,000 people camped out at the border near the village of Idomeni in increasingly desperate conditions.

“We have to persuade them (to move) and we can’t do that using tear gas. Half the people there are women and children,” Toskas told private Mega television Friday.

Authorities say about 800 people have agreed so far to leave the camp, but more arrive daily.

Macedonia closed its borders to all migrants and refugees this week after several Balkan countries and Austria began imposing restrictions in February.