European Union leaders will discuss how to further curb immigration from across the Mediterranean over dinner on Thursday, but are as divided as ever on how to take care of refugees who still make it to Europe.

Their chairman, Donald Tusk, proposed creating a new financing tool in the bloc's next multi-year budget from 2021 to "stem illegal migration", replacing the ad hoc calls for money that EU states have seen since arrivals peaked in 2015.

Despite heavy criticism by human rights groups that it is aggravating the suffering of refugees and migrants on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, the EU is sticking to its policy of providing various kinds of assistance to the governments and U.N. agencies in the Middle East and Africa in order to prevent people making the trek north.

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