BRUSSELS – The Latest on Europe's response to mass influx of migrants and asylum seekers (all times local):
The European Union's executive arm is proposing new EU-wide rules for granting asylum and resettlement for migrants, among the most controversial of political issues in many European countries. The proposals were made public Wednesday by EU officials.
In a statement, EU Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans said the proposed reforms "will make sure that persons in genuine need of international protection get it quickly, but also that those who do not have the right to receive protection in the EU can be returned swiftly."
The proposals, which must be approved by the European Parliament and the EU member states to take effect, include provisions to discourage so-called "asylum shopping," where applicants go from one EU country to another looking for the best deal.
Greece's coast guard says a search and rescue operation is underway off the coast of the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos after a boat carrying migrants overturned.
The coast guard said Wednesday that two survivors had been rescued, and had told authorities they had been in an inflatable dinghy with another nine people when the vessel capsized as it headed to the island from the nearby Turkish coast.
Vessels from the Greek coast guard and the European border agency Frontex were searching for the missing.
Lesbos has been the main arrival point for hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants heading to Europe. But numbers of new arrivals have fallen dramatically following a March deal between the Eurooean Union and Turkey to limit the refugee flow.