David Cameron will support an EU-wide deal to boost the funding of search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean following the deaths of hundreds of migrants, Sky News understands.
But the agreement, which will be hammered out by European leaders in Brussels later, will only offer to resettle 5,000 people who have fled their homes, raising the prospect of many more being sent home.
The deal is expected to fall short of the scale of "Mare Nostrum" - the pro-active rescue mission led by the Italian Navy that was controversially stopped late last year.
Instead, the financial boost will be directed at the EU-funded Operation Triton that replaced it.
That covers search and rescue, but is primarily about policing European borders and only operates within 30 miles of the Italian coast - compared with an earlier effort to scour 27,000 square miles of sea.
Countries including Britain argued that search and rescue acted as an unintended "pull factor" to migrants.
But humanitarian experts warned that the decision to reduce operations would have tragic consequences, not least because Triton's budget was less than a third of its predecessor.
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