Italy's premier Paolo Gentiloni on Friday voiced satisfaction at European leaders' agreement that his country had shown an "exemplary" response to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.
"I was struck by and satisfied and proud of the fact that our country, which for a period of time had been at the centre of several challenges, rows and accusations... today is seen as a country that has given an exemplary response to human traffickers," Gentiloni told reporters in Brussels after a summit of European leaders.
"A country that has given an exemplary response to human traffickers and... must be supported on a political and financial level."
In the conclusions of the summit issued on Friday, the European Council said it recognised "the significant contribution made by Italy on the Central Mediterranean route," Gentiloni stated.
During the summit European Council President Donald Tusk said that the European Union is ready to give more help to Italy to cope with the Mediterranean migrant crisis.
The EU leaders agreed to offer Gentiloni and his government stronger support for Italy's work with the Libyan authorities in managing the central Mediterranean route.
"We have a real opportunity to close the route," Tusk said.