The Latest: Spain wants EU-wide solution for migrants at sea
LESBOS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on the influx of migrants into Europe (all times local): 4:30 p.m. Spain's interior minister says European countries must find a broad agreement on how to handle migrants travelling across the Mediterranean Sea and not just strike deals that approach the problem in a piecemeal way.
Neither Spain nor Greece, which took more migrants than any other nation last year, were invited to a meeting on Monday in Valetta, Malta attended by the interior ministers of Germany, France, Italy and Malta, as well as the European Commission.
The meeting secured an agreement on migrants rescued from the central Mediterranean Sea. Fernando Grande-Marlaska says Spain does not oppose that deal but seeks a consensus on all sea arrivals, including those through the Western Mediterranean to Spain.
He says: "The borders are not Spanish, Italian or Maltese, the borders are European."
Five European Union nations have agreed to a temporary arrangement to take in migrants rescued from the central Mediterranean Sea.
Interior Minister Michael Farrugia of Malta, which hosted talks Monday on migration, told reporters that the nations are his own country, Italy, Germany, France and Finland, which holds the rotating EU presidency.
The arrangement regulating disembarkation and distribution of the migrants lasts at least until Oct. 8, when interior ministers of all EU countries meet to discuss possibly widening the arrangement.
Italy and Malta have closed their ports to hundreds of migrants rescued from human traffickers' unseaworthy boats. They contend such operations help Libya-based traffickers.
Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese called Monday's cooperation accord a good start.
Italy and Malta are pushing for more help from fellow European Union nations with migrants rescued at sea.
Their countries' interior ministers as well as those from France and Germany are meeting in Malta on Monday to develop some automatic mechanism to wbsure that those rescued at sea will be distributed among other countries and not be the responsibility of the nations where they land.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the aim was to achieve an "emergency mechanism" for the next few months until the incoming European Commission can start work on a permanent arrangement.
EU officials are also participating at the Malta meeting.
Seehofer said thorny questions include which ports can be used, how to distribute the migrants in Europe and also fight human traffickers.
Security and municipal services on the Greek island of Lesbos will hold an emergency meeting Monday after administrators of a refugee camp said they were overwhelmed by the number of arrivals from nearby Turkey.
The camp at Moria on the Aegean Sea island began turning away new arrivals Friday as the number of people at the site exceeded 12,000, four times its intended capacity.
The rapidly rising numbers — the highest entering the European Union — have created the worst crisis on the island since the massive influx of refugees into Europe four years ago.
The government has promised tougher sea patrols and said it would seek additional international support including resources from the EU border protection agency Frontex.