02:56 - Source: CNN
'Running away' only option for some European migrants

Story highlights

Rescues conducted through 11 operations coordinated in Rome

IOM: Thousands of migrants have arrived in Italy this year

EU has proposed changes to migration policy among member nations

CNN —  

Italy’s coast guard says it rescued 2,452 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday. The rescues were conducted through 11 operations that were coordinated by a central office in Rome, the coast guard said Friday via Twitter.

Italy has been coping with a wave of desperate migrants from Africa and the Middle East. There has been an upsurge in migrant boats crossing the Mediterranean in an attempt to reach the country, and a corresponding increase in rescues performed by the Italian Coast Guard.

Some 34,570 migrants arrived in Italy between January 1 and May 7, according to the International Organization for Migration. The same group says 1,780 migrants died while trying to reach Italian shores.

On Wednesday, the European Union’s executive arm, the European Commission, outlined a series of new proposals on migration policy, including quotas on the number of migrants EU countries must accept. Approval is not a given, however.

Immigration is a contentious issue in many of the 28 member nations.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who is from Italy, presented the proposals. “With this bold agenda, the European Union has proven itself ready to address the plight of those escaping from wars, persecution and poverty,” she said Wednesday. “Migration is a shared responsibility of all member states and all member states are called now to contribute to tackling this historical challenge.”

Mogherini said that foreign and defense ministers from EU nations are due to meet as soon as Monday to make some decisions on which measures will be initially approved.