In this photo taken on Thursday, June 21, 2018, the ship operated by the German NGO Mission Lifeline is reached by a Libyan Coast Guard boat after they rescued migrants from a rubber boat in the Mediterranean Sea in front of the Libyan coast. Italy's interior minister says Malta should allow a Dutch-flagged rescue ship carrying 224 migrants to make port there because the ship is now in Maltese waters. Salvini said the rescue was in Libyan waters, which Lifeline denies. (Hermine Poschmann/Mission Lifeline via AP)

The Latest: German migration plan's secrecy vexes lawmakers

June 25, 2018 - 10:37 am

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on the flow of migrants into Europe (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

German lawmakers are voicing growing frustration that a much-touted migration "master plan" is dominating the country's political debate although hardly anybody has seen it.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is keeping the 63-point plan secret from his own staff even as he and Chancellor Angela Merkel haggle over the details.

One of Merkel's top aides, Christian Democratic Union party general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, said Monday "it's an increasing problem that we have to say we don't have this master plan."

An aide to a European Parliament lawmaker recently submitted a freedom of information request for the plan, which has figured in renewed European Union discussions about immigration policy.

Mathias Schindler, a researcher for Pirate Party lawmaker Julia Reda, acknowledged that the formal request for access was unusual. He compared the secrecy surrounding the plan to the British government withholding its Brexit analyses from lawmakers.


4:20 p.m.

Spain's interior minister is travelling to Morocco this week for talks with officials as Spain each day rescues hundreds of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to its shores.

Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who oversees domestic security, is to meet with officials in Rabat on Thursday.

The Spanish Maritime Rescue Service says it pulled 377 people from 18 small boats Monday in the Strait of Gibraltar. Over the previous two days, it rescued more than 800 others.

The mass arrival of migrants by boat from North Africa in search of a better life has created tensions in the European Union over how to respond.

Spanish Development Minister Jose Luis Abalos told Cadena Ser radio that Spain is taking "a respectful humanitarian approach" toward the plight of migrants. But he added that Spain doesn't want to become "Europe's maritime rescue organization."


3:45 p.m.

Amnesty International is criticizing Italy's decision to hand off the rescue of some 1,000 migrants to Libya's coast guard, saying the asylum-seekers are at renewed risk for "torture, violence and exploitation" in Libya.

In a tweet Monday, Amnesty's Italy branch criticized Sunday's rescue, in which the Italian coast guard declined offers of help from a Spanish aid group and handed off the rescue to Libya.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, in Tripoli on Monday, praised Libya's U.N.-recognized government for its "excellent work" in rescuing migrants and vowed to do everything possible to prevent aid groups from a "full-on invasion" of Libya's waters.

Salvini has accused aid groups of working as a taxi service for Libyan-based people smugglers.

Human rights organizations have accused Italy of complicity in Libya's torture of migrants by helping Libya bring them back.


12:10 p.m.

Spanish authorities say 210 more people have been rescued in the Strait of Gibraltar, as more migrants take advantage of fair weather in the western Mediterranean to make the risky crossing by boat from North Africa to Spain.

Those rescued Monday come in addition to the more than 800 migrants rescued in the previous two days after the winds dropped and the sea calmed. Even so, the Strait is a busy shipping lane with treacherous currents.

Spain's Maritime Rescue Service says it pulled 155 people from eight different small boats crossing the Strait. The Spanish Civil Guard said it rescued 55 others.

The summer wave of migrants has caused divisions between European Union governments, even as it represents a significant drop in the number of migrants who arrived a year ago. Italy's new government has vowed to deport tens of thousands of migrants while Spain's new center-left government is urging more cooperation on helping migrants and the nations they land in.


10:50 a.m.

The provocative street artist Banksy is believed to have taken his message on migration to Paris.

Seven works attributed to the graffiti artist have been discovered in recent days, including one near a former center for migrants at the city's northern edge, according to the art website Artistikrezo.

Nicolas Laugero Lasserre, the site's editor, said he heard a few weeks ago through contacts in the French street art world that Banksy was planning a trip. Laugero Lasserre said the first work was found Wednesday — that of a child spray-painting wallpaper over a swastika. He said the wallpaper stencil was used in a 2009 exposition at the Bristol Museum, describing it as "a real signature."

Banksy's publicist did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


9:45 a.m.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is urging EU member countries to put more money into an Africa trust fund as the bloc looks to set up migrant screening centers outside Europe.

Mogherini said Monday that the fund "has proven to be useful, it has brought results and this is why we are asking for more money from member states."

EU leaders are set later this week to greenlight plans to screen migrants for eligibility as asylum-seekers at centers in countries including Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia.

The plans mirror a deal that the EU clinched with Turkey in 2015 aimed at encouraging Ankara to stop refugees setting out for the Greek islands. That deal has cost more than 3 billion euros ($3.5 billion).

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