BRUSSELS – European Union leader Donald Tusk says the bloc has agreed to increase funding to help Italy in its efforts to keep migrants from arriving in Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
Tusk said members of the 28-member bloc will provide "sufficient finances" to Italy and that the European Commission will ensure the money goes to fighting "illegal migration."
Tusk, president of the European Council, said, "we have a real chance of closing the Central Mediterranean route."
After struggling for years with large numbers of arrivals, Italy managed to reduce the numbers this year by sending naval units to Libya's coast to help the local coast guard while making deals with Libyan militias to prevent migrants from leaving.
Aid workers, however, say a humanitarian catastrophe is brewing in Libya as migrants get trapped there.