BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — The Latest on Europe’s immigration crisis (all times local):
The German state of Bavaria is threatening Chancellor Angela Merkel’s federal government with a lawsuit if it doesn’t take measures to secure the German border and reduce the influx of asylum-seekers, escalating a long-running dispute over refugee policy.
Bavaria is run by the Christian Social Union, the regional sister party to Merkel’s conservatives and itself part of Germany’s governing coalition. But party leader and Bavarian governor Horst Seehofer has been at odds with Merkel for months over her open-door refugee policy, and has pressed increasingly loudly for a cap on the number of refugees Germany lets in.
In a letter to Merkel approved Tuesday by Bavaria’s Cabinet, Seehofer set out demands including “effective” border controls. Bavaria is threatening to go to Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court if Berlin doesn’t satisfy the request.
Merkel argues that diplomacy is the key to resolving the crisis.
Turkey’s state-run news agency says Turkish coast guards have recovered the bodies of four migrants — three of them children — after a smuggler’s boat carrying migrants from Syria sank on the way to Greece.
Anadolu Agency said the bodies were found Tuesday near the tiny Greek island of Farmakonissi, which is near the Turkish Aegean resort of Didim. The coast guard was searching the Aegean Sea for more possible victims.
The Turkish Coast Guard says 57 migrants have died in Turkish waters so far this year while attempting to make the perilous journey to the Greek islands.
In all, more than 700 people have died or gone missing in the Aegean Sea since the start of 2015.
The Czech and Slovak prime ministers say the European Union needs a ‘Plan B’ in case Greece can’t manage the influx of migrants through its territory.
Bohuslav Sobotka and Robert Fico say to protect the European visa-free Schengen travel zone in that case, the 28-nation bloc should take necessary measures on Greece’s borders with Macedonia and Bulgaria.
More than 850,000 people, most fleeing conflict in Syria and Afghanistan, entered Greece by sea in 2015. Some European countries, including Slovakia, have blasted Greece for being unable to secure its border, which forms part of the Schengen area.
After the two leaders met Tuesday, Fico said: “Macedonia and Bulgaria could play a key role in protecting the Schengen border.”
The two countries already agreed to deploy police forces in Macedonia.