BERLIN – The Latest on the influx of migrants into Europe (all times local):
The interior ministers of France and Germany have stressed Europe must urgently tackle its migration crisis to safeguard the continent's borderless Schengen area, and urged greater information-sharing among police and security services.
Bernard Cazeneuve and Thomas de Maiziere spoke Friday while visiting Greece, which is on the front line of Europe's massive refugee influx. With a lengthy sea border with Turkey and thousands of kilometers of coastline, Greek islands have been the favored way for people fleeing conflict and poverty to reach Europe.
Cazeneuve visited Lesbos, the island that has seen the most arrivals and where one of the "hotspot" registration centers will be set up, on Thursday.
Both ministers stressed the need to reduce migration flows. De Maiziere said Germany was sending 100 police and two coast guard vessels to Greece.
The German government says Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Ankara on Monday to meet with Turkey's prime minister as she tries to reduce the migrant influx to Europe.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Friday Merkel and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu decided on the trip when they met at this week's aid conference for Syria in London.
Turkey, a key country on the migrant route to Europe, is central to Merkel's diplomatic efforts to reduce the number of migrants coming to Germany. She has resisted pressure for unilateral measures such as a national cap on refugee numbers.
Turkey agreed in November to fight smuggling networks and help curb irregular migration. The European Union pledged 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) to help improve the condition of refugees in Syria in return.