Italy will receive solidarity from the European Union on redistributing across the 28-nation bloc the influx of migrants arriving from Africa, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker pledged in Brussels on Thursday.
"We must show solidarity. I have been pushing for this for years and it will happen," Juncker said on the sidelines of a key summit of EU leaders at which the controversial issue of migration will be a central topic.
Italy is the main arrival state for boat migrants from Africa and the country's populist prime minister Giuseppe Conte could refuse to sign off on the EU summit conclusions if other states refuse to take in a share of asylum-seekers under a quota system.
Despite a sharp fall in arrivals by sea compared with the last two years, over 16,500 migrants have reached Italy this year and more than 700,000 have landed since 2014.
European Council President Donald Tusk as called for the summit on Thursday and Friday to agree to "regional disembarkation platforms" outside of Europe to weed out economic migrants from refugees, a dedicated EU budget for migration control, and more funding for the Libyan coastguard.
Liberal democracy is at stake in Europe unless nations swiftly secure its borders and stop the wave of illegal immigration, Tusk warned in a letter.
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