The number of migrants seeking protection in the European Union soared by 68 percent in the first five months of 2015 compared with the year-earlier period, the EU said on Wednesday at a time of haggling between member states over how to share the burden.
EU ministers responsible for migrant issues will meet on Thursday to weigh details of a plan aimed at deterring migrants from making dangerous sea crossings to Europe while helping Mediterranean EU countries — especially Italy and Greece — bearing the brunt of the influx and struggling to cope.
Member states have rejected a mandatory scheme to share migrants proposed by the European Commission, the EU executive, and are negotiating on voluntary commitments. “The work is still ongoing,” a diplomat told Reuters on Wednesday.
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