The European Union moved Wednesday to help Italy and Greece manage a massive influx of migrants across the Mediterranean and oblige reluctant EU partners to share the refugee burden.

In a two-pronged proposal aimed at redistributing the refugee load, the EU's executive commission suggested that 40,000 Syrians and Eritreans newly arrived in Europe be redistributed away from Italy and Greece over the next two years.

A further 20,000 people not currently in Europe and in clear need of international protection would be shared out among the 28 EU nations.

The proposals, reported by The Associated Press on Tuesday, come as the number of desperate migrants seeking better lives in Europe continues to rise, with more than 80,000 landing so far this year.