BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on Europe’s migrant crisis (all times local):
The U.N. migration agency says the weekend capsizing off Tunisia of an overloaded smuggling boat is now believed to have killed 112 migrants, making it the deadliest shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea this year.
Spokesman Leonard Doyle of the International Organization for Migration says it counts 60 confirmed deaths and 52 people missing and presumed dead from the capsizing off the eastern city of Sfax. Sixty-eight people survived.
Doyle said Tuesday the toll makes the capsizing “the single biggest incident of dead and missing this year” on the Mediterranean, after two other shipwrecks off the Libyan coast in January and February that each left 100 people dead or missing and presumed dead.
IOM says Tunisians make up most migrants now attempting the crossing in the central Mediterranean route toward Italy.
U.N. agencies say at least 100 migrants are now believed to have died after an overcrowded smuggling boat capsized off Tunisia last weekend.
The shipwreck is believed to be the most deadly on the Mediterranean Sea this year.
The estimate came Tuesday from the International Organization for Migration and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees for the boat that sank off the Tunisian coastal city of Sfax. Tunisian authorities initially said 46 people had been confirmed dead but that dozens remained missing.
Spokesman William Spinder of UNHCR said Tuesday that 52 people have been confirmed dead and “about 60” others are believed dead. He said rescue operations were suspended amid bad weather.
Before the tragedy, UNHCR had estimated that 646 people had died trying to cross the sea to Europe this year.
Denmark’s prime minister says a new European asylum system can be in place as soon as next year and asylum-seekers whose applications have been rejected could be sent to a country “that is not on the migrant’s wish list.”
Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, who gave no further details besides that fact that several European countries have discussed the plan, spoke Tuesday on Denmark’s Constitution Day. Danish lawmakers from all political parties hold speeches across the country to mark the signing of the 1949 Constitution.
The prime minister said the plan “would have a huge preventive effect,” adding that a pilot project could be presented before the end of the year.
European Union countries remain deeply divided over how to reform the bloc’s asylum system as an end of June deadline approaches for updating rules central to handling mass influxes of refugees.
Well over 1 million people, mostly Syrians fleeing conflict, entered Europe in 2015, overwhelming Greece and Italy. Their entry strained relations among EU neighbors and fueled anti-migrant sentiment.
Dutch Migration Minister Mark Harbers said in Luxembourg that there are “a lot of member states that still have points of discussion” with the latest proposals. EU leaders want the problem resolved this month.
Germany’s deputy interior minister, Stephan Mayer, says “there are still considerable deficits” in the proposals.
Belgian Migration Minister Theo Francken says that if no solution is found to managing migrant arrivals, “Europe will end, and we will never get out of this crisis.”
Authorities in southern Germany have arrested two Syrian men on suspicion of people smuggling.
Prosecutors in Stuttgart say the two men, aged 31 and 33, were arrested in the nearby Ludwigsburg region.
Police also searched 10 premises in two German states.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that their investigation is focusing on nine men aged between 29 and 52. Five are said to be Syrian, with the others hailing from Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Germany.
The 33-year-old is accused of helping Syrians and Iraqis illegally enter Germany. Prosecutors discovered the smuggling ring while investigating him for alleged past membership of Syria’s Nusra Front.
The 31-year-old is alleged to have provided fake documents for migrants and obtained fraudulent loans.
The unnamed men are accused of trying to establish “a long-term source of income.”
This article provided by NewsEdge.