ROME - The European Union must do more to protect its borders and to halt the departure of migrant boats from north Africa, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Tuesday.

Meloni was speaking to the Italian parliament ahead of an EU summit this week. Italy, which has vowed a tough line on immigration, took in more than 500 migrants on Sunday when two charity rescue ships were allowed to dock.

Later in the debate Meloni said the EU relocation policy for migrants was not working for Italy which was being left to shoulder too great a burden.

"I don't think it's a solution to say that Italy should be the only port of disembarkation in the EU and then for every 100,000 people who come in, other countries take 30."

"I do not think Italy should do alone what others are not willing to do."

But other EU states are also under pressure from migration via other routes.

In September alone, France received around 15,000 asylum applications, Germany almost 21,000, Austria around 15,700 and Spain more than 11,000 compared to 8,500 for Italy, data from EU statistics agency Eurostat shows.

Tensions flared with neighbour France last month after the French took in a rescue boat carrying around 230 migrants that had been turned away by Italy.

More than 98,000 migrants have arrived in Italy by sea in the year to date, up from around 63,000 in the same period of 2021, interior ministry data shows.

(Writing by Keith Weir, Francesca Piscioneri editing by Gavin Jones, Alvise Armellini)