Three years ago, when EU naval mission "Sophia" was shut down after rescuing 45,000 migrants in the central Mediterranean, Italian opposition leader Giorgia Meloni was jubilant.

Now, as prime minister, she wants to bring it back — but this time she is calling for the European Union ship to focus on blocking migrant departures from North Africa rather than saving lives at sea, something experts on migration and international law say is unfeasible.

Meloni's change of tack comes after seeing her right-wing government's election promises to stop sea arrivals from North Africa undercut by landings on the island of Lampedusa. Last week well over 10,000 migrants reached the Italian island — whose permanent population is about 6,000.