There are over ten NGO-run boats patrolling the coast of Libya to help thousands of refugees. But Frontex, the European border control and coast guard agency, thinks they are playing into the hands of smugglers.
The threat comes amid a standoff with Malta over the fate of 177 migrants rescued by Italy in Maltese waters. Returning migrants to an "unsafe" Libya could pose legal troubles for Rome.
Chancellor Merkel is headed for Algeria to find ways to boost trade with the Mediterranean nation. But the complicated issue of migration will loom over her talks as Berlin looks for ways to stem irregular migration.
Rome had threatened to return the 177 migrants to Libya amid a standoff with Malta over who should take them. Local media reports suggested it would take some negotiations before the migrants are allowed to disembark.
The Aquarius vessel operated by a Franco-German aid group is seeking a port where it can safely disembark with rescued people. An Italian minister has suggested the UK should take responsibility.
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