European Union leaders were gathering Thursday to examine new ways to stop migrants entering Europe, desperate to ensure that their differences over managing the flows do not tear the 28-nation bloc apart.

The number of people arriving in Europe seeking sanctuary or better lives has dropped significantly, but anti-migrant parties have consolidated their powers, winning votes as they exploit fear of foreigners.

The political crisis caused by the EU’s inability to share responsibility for those entering is undermining German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s leadership. It’s also helped bring an anti-European government to power in Italy.

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