Italy's interior minister says Malta should take rescue boat

Angela Merkel Donald Trump

Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU) on Monday gave Merkel two weeks to get a deal with European allies after Germany's coalition government nearly cracked apart as Merkel's Christian Democrats and their sister party rowed over immigration.

However, her political capital is being eroded by a row with her Bavarian allies, who have given the chancellor two weeks to find a European solution to their immigration dispute. Merkel wants to secure a multilateral, EU-backed solution before the leader of the CSU and Minister of Interior, Horst Seehofer, proceeds with his own unilateral national plan on the migration issue.

Malta - which is also refusing to take in the boat in a new diplomatic standoff with Italy - nevertheless said it had sent in humanitarian supplies.

The Aquarius ultimately landed with almost 600 rescued migrants in Spain after the new Socialist government there agreed to accept them, but not before highlighting deep divisions within the European Union over migration. It said it picked up additional migrant passengers during another rescue overnight, and now was heading north with 234 on board.

SOS Mediterranee said European Union training and financing of the Libyan coast guard to intercept migrants has "resulted in thousands of people being sent back to the "Libyan hell" they were trying to escape".

But Italy's Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said his country had faced 650,000 arrivals by sea over the past four years, 430,000 asylum requests and the hosting of 170,000 "alleged refugees" for an overall cost of more than £4.4million.

"This is an important step that Europe will be working on for a while", Merkel said alongside Macron during a highly anticipated meeting outside Berlin on Tuesday. She said the hope is to see if "we can reach bi-, tri- or even multinational agreements to better solve certain problems".

Additionally, Seehofer told a local daily on Friday that he would not back away from his controversial "migration master plan", which foresees turning away most of the asylum-seekers at Germany's border.

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Speaking on World Refugee Day, Merkel herself stressed the need for a European solution to the influx of migrants that the continent's governments have argued over for almost three years.

Macron said his proposal is "complementary" to one by EU Council President Donald Tusk that would put migrant centers for assessing cases in transit countries they used on the way to Europe.

The latest incident comes as the UN's refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Thursday that 220 people had drowned off the coast of Libya in recent days while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during her visit to the German Jordanian University near Madaba, Jordan June 21, 2018.

"The IMF, and it's known for this, often has very ambitious ideas about reforms, and implementing them is anything but simple", she said.

Italy on Saturday said "arrogant" France risked becoming its "No.1 enemy" on migration issues, a day before European leaders convene in Brussels for a hastily arranged meeting on the divisive topic.

"We need a change to migration policy, strengthening the rule of law", he added.

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