The Latest: Hundreds of migrants along Serbia's EU border
PARIS – The Latest on the flow of migrants to Europe (all times local):
Several hundred migrants are camping along Serbia's borders, sleeping rough in make-shift shelters in harsh winter weather as they look for a chance to cross into neighboring European Union countries.
Amid biting wind and freezing temperatures, groups of migrants huddled around small fires in an abandoned factory near Croatia's border, as aid groups distributed food and warm drinks.
Officials and aid groups say that some 300-400 migrants have been staying out in the open while an additional 4,000 are in asylum camps in Serbia.
Thousands have been stranded in the Balkan country since countries along the so-called Balkan migrant route was closed down in March 2016 to stem the flow into the EU.
Many migrants try to cross the borders illegally with the help of smugglers. They often face pushbacks and harassment.
The first group of African refugees benefiting from a new initiative bringing the especially vulnerable directly to Europe has arrived in France.
An Interior Ministry official said the 19 Sudanese, including 11 children, were taken from a camp in Chad. They were heading to a convent Monday in eastern France after their arrival.
The official, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity, said a second group of 25 refugees pre-selected in Niger arrives Tuesday.
The initiative, signed after an August summit in Paris between Chad, Niger and Libya and four European countries, ensures that those selected won't make treacherous Mediterranean crossings — while heading off illegal entries.
France committed to welcoming 3,000 from Niger and Chad within two years, among 10,000 to be selected from elsewhere.