The Latest: Hungary military opens base to stop migrants
Posted March 20
ROME — The Latest on migration to Europe (all times local):
Hungary's defense minister has inaugurated a small military base on the country's southern border to prevent the entry of migrants.
Defense Minister Istvan Simicsko said Monday that the troops were working to defend the borders "so hundreds of thousands won't march across the country" as in 2015.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban said last week that a new fence being built on the Serbian border equipped with surveillance tools can block even large numbers of migrants "so in Austria and Germany people can sleep soundly, because Hungarians will be protecting Europe's external borders."
Hungary first built fences on the borders with Serbia and Croatia in late 2015.
The base, built from 90 containers at Hercegszanto, 220 kilometers (about 140 miles) south of Budapest, will house 150 troops.
Italy is hosting a European-North African migration summit aimed at helping implement a new accord with Libya to better patrol its coasts and stop smugglers from setting off with their human cargo.
The interior ministers' conference was underway Monday as rescue ships brought to Italy's southern shores some of the estimated 3,000 migrants rescued over the weekend on the Mediterranean.
Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti invited counterparts from several European countries that border Italy — France, Slovenia, Switzerland and Austria — as well as Germany and Malta. Those countries have a stake in the accord since many migrants who arrive in Italy pass through its northern borders for destinations further north.
Also attending were representatives of Tunisia and Algeria, as well as the internationally recognized Libyan leader, Premier Fayez Serraj.