Macron has suggested, like Merkel, solutions by willing countries to make progress now since unanimity among the 28 member states will be hard.
The European Union remained divided over immigration policy as the leaders of 16 member countries gathered in Brussels for an emergency meeting on Sunday.
One of the key accomplishments of the EU is the Schengen free travel zone and some fear that closing internal borders between EU nations to keep migrants out would undermine that cornerstone of EU cooperation.
The number of people arriving in Europe has dropped significantly this year - the UN's refugee agency forecasts around 80,000 people will enter by sea in 2018 if current trends continue - but the EU's political turmoil over the topic has soared.
Facing a domestic political crisis in Germany over the topic, Chancellor Angela Merkel will be seeking to get European Union leaders to forge a joint approach to manage the influx of migrants and refugees, a divisive issue which is now back at the heart of the European Union too.
Plans to set up migrant reception centres in Albania are also under discussion. He mentioned Libya - the main jumping off point for countries bound for Europe - other African countries and the Balkans.
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"There is no plan, only proposals from the ones and the others", admitted French president Emmanuel Macron.
Italy, a front-line state to asylum seekers and migrants coming from North Africa, is more focused on the initial arrivals and on avoiding what it says is an unfair burden that has been placed on it by countries to its north.
Spanish authorities said they had rescued almost 600 migrants trying to make the perilous crossing from Africa, while off the coast of Libya, coastguards recovered bodies of five migrants and picked up 210 survivors, the coastguard said.
The idea builds on current projects in Libya and Niger where refugees are either being resettled or sent home under the auspices of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
It's also unclear how much the effort would cost, but the EU-Turkey deal has so far cost more than $3.5 billion.
"We are all responsible for all issues [regarding migration]", said German chancellor Angela Merkel, who had called for the meeting ahead of next week's European Union summit.
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Merkel, however, has acknowledged that "no solution will be reached" on the overall migration issue at either summit.
"That is why there will be bilateral and trilateral agreements, how can we help each other - not always wait for all 28 members but think about what is important to whom", she said. She said the hope is to see if "we can reach bi-, tri- or even multinational agreements to better solve certain problems". France's Macron also supported the idea of members acting in smaller groups. Under the EU's so-called Dublin rules, asylum-seekers must be processed in the country where they first arrive, usually Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Greece and Spain.
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to forge ahead with like-minded leaders on ways to reduce migrant flows and share responsibility for those who land on Europe's shores.
His appeal came as migration tensions surged on the Mediterranean itself.
Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini quickly hailed the news that a second migrant ship he had turned away would be taken in elsewhere.
Earlier this month Spain offered safe haven to the charity ship Aquarius that was blocked from docking in Italy. And a private cargo ship, the Alexander Maersk, has been waiting to be assigned a port since it picked up 113 migrants off southern Italy on Friday, the ship owner said.
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Even though new arrivals have dropped, the political consequences of migration pressures are still reverberating around Europe.