Debate over migrants divides European Union

Italy doubles down on anti-migrant stance ahead of EU summit

"Let the Libyan authorities do their work of rescue, recovery and return (of migrants) to their country, as they have been doing for some time, without the ships of the voracious NGOs disturbing them or causing trouble", he said.

Macron also said France favoured financial sanctions for EUcountries that refuse migrants with proven asylum status.

Leaders from 16 European Union countries are holding an emergency summit in Brussels on Sunday, in a bid to shore up the conservative coalition government of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, which was left teetering after a row over migration.

Leaders attending the summit will focus on protecting external borders, as well as tackling the secondary movement of migrants within the EU, Merkel said.

Italy has accused him of "arrogance" and placed the responsibility for saving migrants in the Mediterranean squarely at the feet of Libya, much of which is lawless. Another vessel, Lifeline, is now stranded with about 230 people on board after both Italy and Malta denied it permission to dock. Ministers from Malta and Italy argued on Twitter over which country was acting in a humane way towards the ship.

She and Sánchez discussed how to support northern African states to stem the number of migrants arriving in Europe.

"That means it cannot be that some care about the so-called primary migration, while the others care about the secondary migration", she said, alluding to overstretched frontline states like Italy. Meanwhile Spain's leader, Pedro Sánchez, called on "comrades" in other member states to help, following a recent spike in arrivals.

At the meeting, Italy came up with a 10-point plan and said the burden of migrants had to be shared by all member countries.

At the heart of the problem lie deep divisions over who should take responsibility for arriving migrants - often Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece and increasingly Spain - how long they should be required to accommodate them, and what should be done to help those European Union countries hardest hit.

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Milanesi also said after the meeting that his country supports the JCPOA in the wake of the US withdrawal from the multilateral accord.

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According to the data of the International Organization for Migrants (IOM), 52,240 migrants or refugees arrived in Europe as of June 20 this year, compared to 186,768 in 2017 and 390,432 in 2016.

On Friday evening and Saturday morning Spanish rescuers picked up 449 people from 20 dinghies in the Mediterranean, as well as 129 people from a wooden raft headed from West Africa to the Canary Islands, the maritime rescue service said on Twitter. Along with Austria, the four countries strongly oppose migrant quotas that would see them taking in more migrants, citing security risks.

"Extremists play on emotions to propose the worst" solutions, he added.

He has also said that he favors punishing member states that do not show solidarity on the migrant issue.

In a counter-proposal, Italy on Sunday called for migrant "protection centres" to be set up in several European Union countries to relieve overcrowding in its facilities and also demanded more aid for African countries that fight human trafficking.

"Perhaps the outlook of losing Schengen can move things in the near future", she said.

Amid signs of nervousness from some in the CSU over their collision course with Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), Merkel sent a conciliatory message to the CSU, describing its 70-year-old alliance with her Christian Democrats (CDU) as a "bond of fate".

Merkel, who is scrambling to prevent a mutiny in her government over migration, admitted there were still "some differences" but also "a great deal of common ground". "It can be cooperation between the 28 or cooperation between some states who decide between themselves".