BERLIN – The Latest on the migrant crisis in Europe (all times local):
Greece is maintaining its threat to take unilateral action if other EU nations take actions that would force Athens to shelter ever more migrants and refugees.
Deputy Interior Minister Ioannis Mouzalas criticized a meeting in Vienna where Austria and many of its southern neighbors along the Balkan route agreed to tighter border controls and warned that sooner or later they will have to shut their doors entirely.
The border closures would squeeze Greece in between the Balkan nations to the north and Turkey, from where most of the refugees come. With a full closure, Greece reception capacity could become overwhelmed in days.
Speaking before a meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels, Mouzalas said: "Greece will not accept unilateral actions. Greece, too, can take unilateral action."
Germany's Parliament is debating new measures meant to speed up the handling of migrants and cut their numbers, as well as legislation making it easier to deport foreigners who commit crimes.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet has already approved the package of measures and they aren't expected to meet wide resistance in Thursday's vote.
The plans involve using special centers to quickly process migrants who have little realistic chance of winning asylum.
They'll also amend laws so even a suspended prison sentence would be grounds for deportation if someone is found guilty of certain crimes — including bodily harm, sexual assault, violent theft or serial shoplifting.
Those changes come after a spate of thefts and assaults on women in Cologne on New Year's Eve, blamed largely on foreigners.