MILAN (AP) — The Latest on migrants and Europe (all times local):
The United Nations' refugee agency is appealing for $421.2 million to help improve protection of refugees in sub-Saharan and North Africa and back efforts in Europe to cope with asylum seekers.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Tuesday the plan, which incorporates previous appeals, is needed "to help provide meaningful alternatives to refugees and others undertaking dangerous journeys to Europe."
It says 2,171 refugees and migrants were reported dead or missing as they tried to cross the central Mediterranean in this year's first half, while many others are believed to have died trying to get to Libya.
UNHCR wants to strengthen protection and reception of migrants in sub-Saharan Africa and raise awareness of the risks of traveling to Libya. It wants to help train coast guard services in North Africa.
As Italians confront the pressure of new migrant arrivals with two distinct reactions — putting out the welcome mat, or erecting barricades — the country's leaders are seeking to puncture what they see as Europe's posture of offering moral support instead of concrete action.
The latest proposal has been dubbed the "nuclear option." It calls for emergency visas for migrants rescued at sea.
Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano has denied reports that the numbers could reach 200,000. But other Italian officials have acknowledged the plan is under consideration, if only to gain negotiating leverage. And the threat of the visas, which would allow free movement in the Schengen area, is enough to cause concern among Italy's neighbors. Austria's foreign minister on Monday vowed to protect the border if adopted.