Germany has added its support to a new EU initiative to help Italy cope with an influx of migrants risking their lives by crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa.
The German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said people who enter Italy without legal permission must be registered and have their fingerprints taken there.
That would be a huge undertaking for Italy where, during the summer season, thousands of migrants arrive every day.
Speaking after a meeting with his German counterpart, Italy’s interior minister Angelino Alfano said: “The initiative implemented with France and the other countries that want to be part of this operation is directed towards fighting human trafficking.
This joint initiative will prevent the risk that countries will turn against each other when faced with a severe crisis.”
Thousands of people have fled conflicts in Syria, Iraq and across the Middle East and Africa. Many board unsafe smugglers’ boats in Libya bound for Europe.
The UN refugee agency said 1,889 people have died while making the dangerous journey.
Authorities say more than 60,000 migrants have already landed in southern Italy this year, and that the record of 63,000 set in 2011 is likely to be broken.