The heads of seven southern European states pledged Wednesday to up their efforts to tackle one of the most stubborn thorns in the EU's side: flows of migrants from war-torn and impoverished countries.

The leaders of Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain, meeting in Rome for a working dinner, released a statement saying they were "firmly committed to a common European policy on migration".

The "Southern Seven" tackled issues such as the future of the eurozone and efforts to propel growth, but from crowded reception centres in Greece to boats heading for Spain, the top topic was migrants.

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