The Latest: Migrants reaching Spain more than double in 2018

By On September 14, 2018

The Latest: Migrants reaching Spain more than double in 2018

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World The Latest: Migrants reaching Spain more than double in 2018 Candidates for the president of ruling party Liberal Democratic Party, Japanese Prime Minister and head of current party president Shinzo Abe, left, and Shigeru Ishiba shake hands prior to a debate ahead of Liberal Democratic Party president election in Tokyo Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. Abe is vying for his third re-election as the ruling party leader next week, extending his stay in power to work on his long-cherished ambition, to revise his country's war-renouncing constitution.    (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Abe aims to rewrite Japan constitution as he seeks 3rd term

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

12:15 p.m.

The European Union's border agency says the number of migrants crossing the western Mediterranean Sea into Spain more than doubled in the first eight months of this year, compared with the same period in 2017.

Frontex said in a statement Friday that from January to August it recorded "some 29,600 irregular border crossings on the western Mediterranean route, more than double the figure from a year ago." Some 6,500 people reached Spain last month, also more than double the figure for August 2017.

Most people were from Morocco, Guinea and Mali.

Frontex said that, more broadly, the numb er of people crossing the entire Mediterranean fell by 40 percent from last year to around 86,500.

This was due to a sharp drop in people leaving strife-torn Libya for Italy, a main migrant route to Europe in recent years.

___

11:15 a.m.

Austria's interior minister says the European Union's migration commissioner is prematurely "throwing in the towel" on the idea of setting up centers for migrants in North Africa.

EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos was quoted in Austria's Die Presse newspaper Thursday as saying the idea of slowing the flow of migrants to Europe by establishing holding centers was "practically impossible."

Avramopoulos says "no country in this part of the Mediterranean has accepted the establishment of such a platform to date."

Austrian Interior Minister Herbert Kickl on Friday, before meeting with his EU counterparts and Avramopoulos, called the comments a "bad signal," saying the message should be "let's try to take on this hard task."

He says: "The idea is roughly two months old and ... the EU commissioner's already throwing in the towel."

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