Salvini urges new rules for international rescue ships in the Mediterranean

The European Union could do away with its international naval missions currently operating in the Mediterranean unless their rules of engagement are changed, Italy's anti-migrant interior minister Matteo Salvini said on Tuesday.

"If the rules of some of these missions don't change, we could do without them," Salvini told reporters in Milan after a meeting with Hungary's far-right premier Viktor Orban.

Orban said Hungarians "respect" and "are grateful" to Salvini for his hardline stance on migration and he said Europe "depended" on Salvini's success for its security.

The EU border control mission's rules of engagement currently require boat migrants to be delivered the nearest seaport to where they are rescued - which has most often been an Italian one.

The EU's Operation Sofia anti-trafficking mission rules of engagement require its ships to take rescued migrants to Italy - where over 700,000 have arrived since 2014.

Calls to change the EU naval missions' rules of engagement have been made by several other members of the populist Italian government since it took office on 1 June.