"There is no plan, only proposals from the ones and the others", admitted French president Emmanuel Macron.
In what was billed as a rare "informal meeting" of leaders under the auspices of the European Commission, the new Italian prime minister, Guiseppe Conte, representing his new anti-immigration populist government, presented a plan that would upend the regulations now governing migrants and asylum-seekers.
Referring to the coastguard's announcement, Ms Trenta said: "We are talking about the section of the sea that is close to Libya, which has been delimited and that we call the Search and Rescue area (SAR)".
"There is no national solution", he said. Four member countries in eastern Europe refused to take part in the meeting because of demands that they take in more asylum-seekers to ease the burden elsewhere.
Seehofer, along with Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder, has put pressure on Merkel as they have embraced more right-wing and populist platform policies on migration ahead of the Bavarian election later this year where the party now polls at around 40 percent, putting their current majority in jeopardy.
It means, among other measures, setting up global protection centres in African transit countries to assess asylum applications.
Under maritime rules, as co-ordinator it has the obligation to provide a safe port for migrants to disembark. "The rescue obligation can not become an obligation to process applications on behalf of all", notes the plan.
At the heart of the problem lie deep divisions over who should take responsibility for arriving migrants - often Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece and increasingly Spain - how long they should be required to accommodate them, and what should be done to help those European Union countries hardest hit.
He gave Merkel two weeks before the end of June to find European solutions to this issue.
Italy threatened to boycott the summit after pre-determined conclusions were leaked, but decided otherwise after being assured that the notes were a misunderstanding.
However, the mood remains tense.
The other reason is the political challenge Merkel is facing at home from her interior minister from her coalition partner the CSU, who is himself fearing the rise of the far-right AFD in his powerbase of Bavaria.
She urged her own country to "help save lives" and said the migrants could would be welcomed in her city.
The German charity operating the ship, which is carrying 239 Africans, on Sunday took a swipe at Italy's far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini over his reference in a Facebook post to its consignment of "human flesh".
It does get more complicated though when we talk about asylum-seekers moving inside the EU, the need to reform the Dublin regulation on asylum application or the Common European Asylum System, where you see stark differences between member states.
But "solidarity and responsibility" are terms that are fractured in practice and exposed deep divisions among member states.
Rounding out the 16 leaders, European Union officials said, are those from Austria, Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Croatia, Slovenia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Luxembourg.
But several countries with anti-migrant governments, including Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, did not attend.
Despite the different perspectives, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said, "progress is possible on Thursday".