Daily sea migrant arrivals in southern Italy surge to more than 1,500

Italian authorities reported Tuesday the sea rescue of more than 1,500 migrants, about twice as many as had been intercepted on each of the previous two days.

There are concerns that following moves to close borders along the so-called Balkan route from Greece to Germany, Europe-bound migration flows would switch towards Italian shores.

In a statement, the Italian Coastguard said it coordinated 11 separate operations south of Sicily leading to the rescue of 1,569 migrants, with the help of Italian and Germany navy vessels.

On Sunday, the coastguard said it worked on the rescue of 730 people, while on Monday the number was 752.

Speaking before news of the latest operations, European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said EU authorities were monitoring migration flows from Libya to Italy and found no indication of "a significant increase along this route yet."

Sea arrivals in Italy are still far below figures recorded in Greece.

According to the International Organization for Migration, since January 1 almost 150,000 people landed on Greek shores, 10 times more than on Italian soil. But in the March 14-21 week, inflows were roughly equal in both countries, standing at just under 5,000.

Last update: Tue, 29/03/2016 - 19:14

More from Europe

Parliament backs Brexit timetable after May's concession on plan

British lawmakers backed Prime Minister Theresa May's timetable for Brexit negotiations by a large majority late...

Renzi quits as prime minister, leaving Italy in political quagmire

Italy was plunged into fresh political turmoil Wednesday, as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned after complying...

NATO strongly supports Ukraine's integrity, says Croatian FM

NATO strongly supports Ukraine's territorial integrity and the European Union's sanctions against Russia will remain...

Three detained in France for connection to police killings

Three men have been detained in France for their suspected links to Larossi Abballa, the extremist who killed two...

Political veteran Doris Leuthard elected Swiss president for 2017

Centre-right politician Doris Leuthard will serve as Swiss president next year, the parliament decided Wednesday in...