Eastern Europe nations to skip migrant meeting

53,472 asylum seekers and refugees are registered with UNHCR in Libya

Söder, of the CSU, which now governs Bavaria, found support in like-minded Kurz, whose centre-right party is now in a coalition government with the far-right party FPÖ in Austria.

Lifeline has rescued over 200 migrants in Mediterranean sea, Italy refuses to let them.

"There is no need for the Italian government to seize the ship for investigations", spokesman Axel Steier said in a statement.

Spain stepped in to receive them instead.

Matteo Salvini said Thursday the ship Lifeline rescued 224 migrants in Libyan waters, after the Italian coast guard had told the ship to defer to the Libyan coast guard.

He said the European Union now faced a "civilisational choice" between those who would allow Europe to "unravel" and "those who believe, as we do, that we can move Europe forward by making it both more sovereign and united".

In a statement Lifeline said it had rescued the migrants "in line with all worldwide regulations" and called for a "port of safety to disembark those rescued".

Chancellor Merkel strongly opposed to Seehofer's plan and said such a unilateral move would have "a domino effect", prompting other European Union member states to push back refugees and further increase the burden of member states like Italy and Greece.

Mr Salvini said the rescue was in Libyan waters, which Lifeline denies.

"You have intentionally not listened to Italian or Libyan authorities".

"Human lives must be saved, but in terms of legality and security", Toninelli said on Twitter.

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Amid the ongoing controversy over immigration, the owners of two rescue boats say Italy has forced them to stop operating.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz attending the Visegrad Group meeting in Budapest as a guest.

The problem was crystalized last week in a row between Italy's new populist government, Malta and France over who should take responsibility for 630 people rescued from the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, the main departure point for people trying to reach Europe. "On the contrary, we would like to send somewhere a few", he added.

He also called for other EU countries to accept their share of economic migrants entering the bloc, or get less EU money, reviving an idea that has already been rejected by mostly central European countries in the past.

Georg Pazderski, who is known for his incendiary comments about refugees, said Trump "is clearly better informed than the German government about crime in Germany with the help of his intelligence agencies".

Italy has seen more than 640,000 migrants land on its shores since 2014 and is now sheltering 170,000.

"They are in bad conditions, not only medical conditions but (also) psychological conditions, and they really need urgent medical care and psychological care", UNHCR spokesman Marco Rotunno told Reuters.

News of rescue ships being turned away from European ports comes as the EU bloc grapples to find a solution to the refugee crisis.

Data from the German interior ministry does indicate that the proportion of crimes committed by foreigners has gone up in the past five years, but this can not be attributed specifically to migrant arrivals. "Finally there is a decision to protect the exterior border", Salvini said.

In a later tweet, the charity said a Libyan coastguard vessel was sailing towards the migrants, warning: "We expect professional behaviour and that the Libyan asset respects worldwide law!"

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