EU leaders have backed new steps to stem immigration from Africa, including financing migrant camps in Libya run by the UN-backed government.
The latest measures – largely led by Italy – are aimed at helping to fight people smugglers and improve conditions for migrants on the ground.
They were supported by leaders meeting at a summit in Malta.
In 2016, some 4,500 are estimated to have perished attempting to cross from North Africa to Italy.
Arriving at the Malta summit, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: “We will agree on a very relevant packages of measures that will help us manage the flows better save lives in partnership with the UN agencies, the UNHCR and the IOM, in Libya, in the countries of origin, having a strong external European initiative to decrease and avoid loss of lives.”
The UN refugee agency has said that running camps where migrants and refugees are detained in Libya would mean forcing them to live in poor conditions and would put them at further risk of abuse.
Donald Trump has also been on the minds of leaders in Malta. The American president has put Europe on edge with what is described as “worrying declarations.”
“Those who would like to establish bilateral relations with the US are understood. But there is no future with Trump, if there is not a common approach,” said French President Francois Hollande.
Leaders have also been using the Malta gathering as a chance to plan for a post Brexit Europe – but only after Theresa May had left the room.
You can read the full Malta declaration here.
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