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.
Eastern European leaders have continued to reject a refugee redistribution plan supported by most EU nations. The issue has raised questions about whether true solidarity can be achieved within the bloc.
EU leaders agreed to continue economic sanctions against Russia for another six months. Meeting at a summit in Brussels, the bloc's top politicians also discussed migration and security, revealing national differences.
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.
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.
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