Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni has called for a new and more equal relationship between Europe and the developing countries that produce migrants.
The plea came at at a conference she convened in Rome involving 20 nations as well as key EU officials and international organisations.
Meloni also blamed the people traffickers more than the poverty and conflicts that drives migration from developing countries.
“At the centre of migratory flows are mainly the people. Lives, hopes, fears and suffering are used, exploited by criminal organisations that follow only the logic of profit," she said.
"It is obviously our duty to take care of our nations, but it is also our duty to deal with the destiny of these people,” she added.
The conference aimed to make Italy a leader in resolving issues impacting Mediterranean nations. Chief among them is migration, as Italy sustains hundreds of new arrivals daily on Europe's southern border, but also energy as Europe looks to Africa and the Middle East to permanently replace Russian supplies.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen meanwhile spoke of opening up legal avenues to migration.
The flow of migrants, many of them refugees, has risen by at leat 50,000 this year in Italy and it is not yet August.
But many developing countries disagree with Meloni on the causes: Tunisian President Kais Saied blamed increased migration on European colonisation.
Addressing Tunisia in her address to the conference, Meloni said there was much potential for cooperation, particularly in clean energy.
"This Mediterranean region has vast natural resources like sun, wind and immense landscapes in abundance. You have the potential and the ambition to be global energy powerhouses in a net-zero world," she said.