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Germany, Austria and Italy will hold talks next week on how to "shut" the southern migration route into Europe, Germany's Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Thursday.

Germany's interior minister said on Thursday he was confident that his conservative bloc's centre-left coalition partner would back a plan aimed at defusing a dispute over asylum policy that has threatened to bring down the government.

The parties agreed to speed up the process of returning migrants who have applied for asylum in other European Union states to those countries, as mandated by current European Union law, but only if agreements were in place with the country where they first registered.

But Mr Orban said the best way to be humane was to close borders and help the countries that migrants came from.

Separately, Merkel said she wanted to protect Europe's "humanity" in dealing with migrants, spelling out her differences with Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orbán, at a press conference in Berlin.

"We think it's unfair that Germany often accuses us of a lack of solidarity", Orban said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday she would back lowering European Union tariffs on US vehicle imports, responding to an offer from Washington to abandon threatened levies on European cars in return for concessions. "That is why I am pleased we've found a solution".

"Germany will do everything to prevent the situation from escalating", she said.

Mrs Merkel says Greece and Spain are willing to take migrants back.

Kurz - whose country's border with Italy includes the Brenner pass, an important north-south transport link - was more explicit about what might happen if a deal with Italy was not reached.

European Union leaders reached a deal on migration last week.

"The initial, much-criticised Hungarian resistance", as well as the "persistent unity" of Central European states against migrants, and a recently declared Austrian-Italian-Bavarian "axis" on border policy "have together decisively turned the EU debate on the refugee issue in a different direction". In her opinion, the unit should sign agreements with African countries to ensure legal migration.

"To be honest, I do not want to elaborate on this idea because we do not want to endanger it", he said, adding it was "not connected to the Austrian presidency but it might serve as an example for others". However, Italy - the main arrival point for most migrants from North Africa - does not yet have a bilateral deal with Germany. Kurz called for the agency to have 10,000 border guards by 2020, seven years earlier than anticipated by Brussels.


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