ROME (AP) — The Latest on migration issues in Europe (all times local):
The European Union says it will allow Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and non-EU country Norway to prolong ID checks at their borders but want the migrant controls phased out by November.
The five are members of Europe’s passport-free travel area. A year ago, as Greece struggled to maintain control of its maritime border because of the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants, the five introduced ID checks for security reasons.
They have prolonged them for six months twice since May 14, 2016, but may only do so once more. Systematic ID checks are banned in the area, known as Schengen.
EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said Tuesday that controls will be prolonged, but he called on “member states to phase them out” over six months.
A prosecutor based in Sicily has told Italian senators he hasn’t found any links or contacts between migrant smugglers and humanitarian organizations operating rescue boats in the Mediterranean.
Last month, another Sicilian prosecutor raised alarm by saying his probe has evidence that some NGOs, created specifically to rescue migrants from foundering smugglers’ boats, could be in collusion with human traffickers based in Libya, from where the vessels are launched.
But Syracuse Prosecutor Francesco Paolo Giordano told the Senate defense commission Tuesday his investigations found nothing to indicate any such links.
Giordano said some NGOs show less-than-cooperative attitudes toward judicial authorities. He attributed that to “ideological” differences, but stressed the NGOS allow unfettered access to migrants for questioning.