Italy did not ask the EU to pay Libyan authorities to prevent migrants from heading to Europe from its shores, the office of Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said, denying earlier reports in local media.

“At the moment, there is no initiative regarding creating a similar deal to what was done with Turkey,” an official in the prime minister’s office said when questioned on the issue by Reuters.

Rome believes that the EU must pay more attention to what’s happening in the southern Mediterranean, the official added, and be ready to offer financial support to all African nations that are used by refugees for transit.

Brussels and Ankara signed a deal in 2016 after more than a million people, mainly those fleeing fighting from Syria and Iraq, arrived in Europe in the previous year. According to the agreement, the EU offered Turkey €6 billion ($7.1 billion) in aid, visa-free travel and fast-tracked EU membership talks in exchange for Ankara stopping thousands of refugees from reaching the Greek islands. (RT)