IDOMENI, Greece – The Latest on continuing migration to Europe (all times local):
Greece's government says it has no plans to forcibly evacuate a refugee camp at the border with Macedonia, but says it will pressure migrants to use newly built shelters in nearby areas.
Giorgos Kyritsis, a spokesman for an emergency government committee set up last week to deal with the migrant crisis, said authorities were concerned that more people would try to reach the sprawling border camp at Idomeni after European Union leaders and Turkey reached an outline agreement which would close the border. It could be finalized at a summit on March 17.
"So in this time gap, it is understandable that people will want to try to change the facts on the grounds and to go to (Idomeni) and to be at the border ... when a decision is made," he told state TV.
The government says it will have 16,000 additional places ready at camps and shelters by the end of the week, expanding to eight new sites around Greece.
The German government says that some 61,000 people were registered as asylum-seekers in the country last month — a significant drop compared with January.
The Interior Ministry said that the number of people arriving in Germany dropped to 61,428 in February from 91,671 in January. The ministry didn't deal the reasons for that, but other countries along the Balkan route that hundreds of thousands of migrants used last year started imposing border restrictions in February.
Germany registered nearly 1.1 million new arrivals last year — a number likely inflated by double registrations and people who traveled on to other countries — and is keen to bring the numbers down in 2016.
Syrians were the biggest single group of new arrivals in February, followed by Iraqis, Afghans, Iranians and Somalis.
Thousands of refugees stranded on the Greek-Macedonia border are waking up to the realization that their onward route through the Balkans to wealthy European Union countries is effectively closed.
About 13,000-14,000 people are stranded near the village of Idomeni, where many have been waiting for two weeks or more to be among the small numbers which have been allowed through each day. The mood Tuesday morning was visibly grim among those at the front of the queue waiting to cross.
EU leaders said Monday said they had reached the outlines of a possible deal with Ankara to return thousands of migrants to Turkey, and also said that "irregular flows of migrants along the Western Balkans route have now come to an end."