German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has told reporters the government is concerned that an increasing number of migrants will try to reach Europe this summer by crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy.

De Maiziere and his Austrian counterpart, Walter Sobotka, met Friday, and both ministers said that Italy needs to do more to protect its southern sea border.

With the flow of people across the eastern Mediterranean slowing sharply due to the NATO patrols and an EU agreement to return illegal migrants to Turkey, officials say it is likely that those trying to reach Europe will increasingly try to set off from Libya again. The route has seen a number of mass drownings over the past year of migrants packed into unseaworthy boats.