France, Germany push for deal to end migration row

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

Danish Maersk Line ship rescues 113 migrants in southern Italy

"I think it was better than expected, there was some progress that has been achieved", Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said, echoing a similar assessment by his Spanish counterpart, with both describing frank exchanges in the afternoon meeting.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks at an emergency European Union leaders summit on immigration, in Brussels, Belgium on June 24, 2018. The heads of governments of the Visegrad group (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary) have already declared that will not participate in this meeting.

European Union leaders gathered in Brussels on June 24 for what has been called a "mini-summit" created to address the Continent's migration crisis ahead of a full EU summit four days later.

An informal summit of European Union leaders failed on Sunday to offer a way to tackle the increasingly divisive issue of migrants.

Despite looking for a European solution to deal with the migrant issue, Merkel left the meeting with no agreement but what she described as "much goodwill", Stuttgarter Nachrichten reports.

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".

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In solidarity with him, the Austrian Prime Minister Kurz and the government of Italy, which recently came to power, the government of right-wing eurosceptics and nationalists, protruding sharply against migrants.

But Conte also wants to split responsibility of processing asylum claims of anyone disembarked from rescue boats in the Mediterranean Sea, in a nod to MS Aquarius, an NGO rescue ship operated by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders.

At emergency migration talks in Brussels, a group of 16 countries led by France and Germany were thrashing out who should take responsibility for migrants and refugees arriving in Europe - now mostly Italy, Greece and Spain - how long they should take care of them and how much their European partners should do to help out.

Mr Seehofer said last week that Mrs Merkel had two weeks to reach an agreement with her European partners on immigration.

But he has also had an uncompromising approach to migration, toughening checks at France's Riviera border with Italy and refusing to accept a ship filled with rescued migrants after Italy's new leaders turned it away earlier this month.

Redistribution of migrants through quotas received fierce opposition from some countries after it was first proposed in 2015.

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Spanish authorities said they had rescued almost 600 migrants trying to make the perilous crossing from Africa, while off the coast of Libya coastguards recovered bodies of five migrants and picked up 210 survivors, the coastguard said.

The announcement came as Italy and Malta once again locked horns over who should take charge of a German NGO boat, carrying over 200 migrants, now stranded in the Mediterranean.

Merkel played down expectations for a breakthrough at Thursday's summit, adding that countries have to see "how can we help each other without always having to wait for all 28, but by thinking what's important to whom".

There was tension between Italy and France, too.

Political developments in Italy, a major migrant landing point, and in wealthy Germany, their top destination, have brought the EU's political crisis back. Under current rules, an European Union country is responsible for processing the asylum claims of all new arrivals, which has put enormous pressure on Mediterranean states, especially Italy and Greece.

As EU leaders prepare to discuss immigration policy in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, Italy's refusal to accept charity-run rescue ships has stranded hundreds of Africans at sea, their rescuers waiting for an EU country to accept them.

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