Divided European Union leaders hold talks on migration

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has become the public face of Italy's new unbending line on migrants

She made the remarks upon her arrival here at the summit, saying that there is still no solution to the migration problem involving all 28 member states.

A war of words saw French President Emmanuel Macron accuse Rome of "irresponsibility " for turning away the boat, while Italy denounced Paris for hypocrisy in pushing migrants back across their shared border.

Failure to agree on how to deal with the challenge of migration threatens the EU's border-free travel area, one of the biggest accomplishments in the bloc's 60-year history.

Chancellor Merkel, along with several prominent European leaders from 15 other countries, met in Brussels over the weekend as part of an informal discussion on migration ahead of a formal summit to take place on Thursday. "Macron is making his country a candidate to become Italy's number one enemy on this", he said.

The Italian government stepped up its efforts to discourage migration Sunday by telling a Spanish aid group it didn't need help rescuing 1,000 migrants from six dinghies because it had passed responsibility for the Mediterranean Sea mission to Libya's coast guard.

Italy's prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, was speaking at a mini-EU summit in Brussels, where he said a plan from his government presented at the summit represented a paradigm shift in dealing with migration.

The proposal, seen by this website, broadly aims to stop people from ever reaching Italy and Europe by shoring up borders and outsourcing asylum.

Instead, Conte proposed creating "international protection centers" that would screen asylum requests in common countries of transit but that would not obligate the countries of first arrival.

Despite heated political row over migration, the arrivals of migrants or refugees to Europe have been on a downward trend in the past three years.

Germany's hardline interior minister, Horst Seehofer, has threatened to turn migrants away at the border, unless there is an EU-wide agreement by early July to better control secondary movements.

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Migrants on a rubber boat being rescued by the Lifeline ship in the Mediterranean.

"The rescue obligation cannot become an obligation to process (asylum) requests on everyone's behalf", the document said.

Tensions between Italy and Malta also flared, with both European Union nations refusing to let a German rescue ship, the Lifeline, with more than 200 migrants and refugees aboard dock at their ports.

The new Italian government has closed its ports to charity ships operating in the Mediterranean, saying the European Union must share the burden of disembarking the hundreds of migrants who are plucked from waters each month, mostly off the Libyan coast.

Merkel, however, has acknowledged that "no solution will be reached" on the overall migration issue at either summit.

However, the mood remains tense.

Italy's two deputy prime ministers Luigi Di Maio and far-right Matteo Salvini responded by branding the French president "arrogant" and "completely out of touch with reality".

"France's generosity can not be called into question by anybody and it is not for Mr. Salvini, who closes his ports (to migrants).to teach France a lesson", French European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau responded. The vast majority of Bavarians surveyed - 75 percent - said they considered other issues to be "as important or even more important" than finding a solution for the country's refugee policies, which Seehofer had pledged would be his main objective as interior minister.

The issue was raised during a meeting at the Vatican Tuesday between Macron and Pope Francis, who has called for "solidarity" with migrants.

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