Italy's premier and the southern states of the EU are seeking recognition at a summit in Brussels that the wave of refugees crossing Africa is an issue that concerns all of Europe.
Italy's cabinet has moved closer to sending naval units to intercept migrant boats inside Libya waters, but Libya's PM voiced reservations. The EU has approved funding via Italy to boost Libya's border and coastguards.
Angela Merkel talked up a spirit of optimism at the latest EU summit despite Brexit. But divisions remain over the distribution of refugees and the rise in the number of low-wage workers arriving in western EU states.
EU and North African ministers are to meet in Rome to discuss strategies for curbing the number of migrants coming to Europe. Thousands of people have died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean in dangerous boats.
G7 leaders are meeting with US President Donald Trump in Italy to press him on issues like terrorism and trade. Trump's stance on climate change has proven to be especially contentious.
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