Europe

EU presidency calls for urgent migrant deal with Libya

  • A Syrian refugee man clears the snow around his shelter at the refugee camp of Ritsona about 86 kilometers (53 miles) north of Athens, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The European Commission said conditions for refugees on islands and other camps where they are housed in tents despite severe cold weather, is "untenable." (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

    A Syrian refugee man clears the snow around his shelter at the refugee camp of Ritsona about 86 kilometers (53 miles) north of Athens, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The European Commission said conditions for refugees on islands and other camps where they are housed in tents despite severe cold weather, is "untenable." (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)  (The Associated Press)

  • Migrants queue for food in front of an abandoned warehouse in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Hundreds of migrants are sleeping rough in parks and make-shift shelters in the Serbian capital in freezing temperatures waiting for a chance to move forward toward the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    Migrants queue for food in front of an abandoned warehouse in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Hundreds of migrants are sleeping rough in parks and make-shift shelters in the Serbian capital in freezing temperatures waiting for a chance to move forward toward the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)  (The Associated Press)

The leader of the European Union's presidency says that record numbers of migrants will try to cross the Mediterranean this spring and he wants the EU to work with Libya now to stem the flow.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Thursday that "we will have a crisis."

Muscat said Europe can choose between "trying to do something now, or meeting urgently in April, May ... and try to do a deal then."

He says that the EU should draw up an arrangement with Libya, from where most migrants leave Africa for Europe. It would use European money and expand an agreement already in place between Italy and Libya.

Muscat said "there is already a framework that has been negotiated. The Italian deal can serve as a basis."