Ministers meet in Paris to tackle Italy’s migrants crisis

French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb, Germany’s Thomas de Maiziere and Italy’s Marco Minniti were to meet European Union Commissioner for Refugees Dimitris Avramopoulos in the French capital, a source told news agencies.

Earlier this week Italy, which says its is hugely overstretched by the influx and wants more help from its European partners, threatened to prevent vessels from other countries disembarking rescued migrants at its ports.

As many as 77,000 migrants have been landed in Italy since January, a 15 percent increase on the same period last year.

Merkel, Macron promise help

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron both expressed their backing for Italy after meeting in Berlin.

“Germany will certainly help Italy face this problem,” Merkel said.

Macron cited the Italian premier as saying that more than 80 percent of the migrants were seeking a better life economically and were not fleeing war or persecution.

60 feared drowned

Some 60 people were missing and believed drowned on Friday after a dinghy carrying them sank off the coast of Libya, the International Organisation for Migration said.

The inflatable was carrying around 150 people when it began taking on water five hours after setting off from north Africa on Monday, according to some of the 80 survivors.

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