On Thursday, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands hatched a plan to offer European Union (EU) funding to African countries in a bid to stem the flow of migration into the region.
French President Emmanuel Macron, along with the prime ministers (PM) of the three Benelux nations, agreed on "concrete" proposals to submit at a meeting of EU leaders in Salzburg, Austria.
Increasingly, populist movements across the region are pressuring the EU to come up with suitable and effective ways to stop the arrival of migrants.
Dutch PM Mark Rutte explained that "agreements like those concluded with Turkey" were needed to build on a hard-fought migration deal made at an EU summit back in June.
The EU had struck a deal with Turkey in 2016, under which Ankara agreed to take back migrants landing on Greek islands in exchange for incentives, including financial aid.
"The European Union must deploy a form of the Marshall Plan for Africa, with a concrete operational ambition with African partners", Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said.
The four leaders also conceded that European countries of "first arrival," namely Italy and Spain, need more help to deal with the arrivals of migrants.
The countries of arrival "have a responsibility and they cannot get rid of it, but there must have financial solidarity,” Macron remarked.
However, the group stood resolute that the first arrival countries are mandated to take responsibility for the arrivals of the migrants, a major point of contention with Italian far-right Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini.
Rome has, on several occasions, demanded that the EU rotate the ports where migrants are rescued, arguing that Italy was unfairly shouldering the arrival burden.