Ursula von der Leyen is battling to secure the future of the EU's plan for asylum reform, with the European Commission President facing backlash from within her own ranks.
The EU chief struck a deal with Tunisia in order to stop the influx of migrants into Lampedusa - but one of her allies has let slip that if the agreement fails, the EU's plans for asylum reform could collapse.
As well as unveiling a '10 point plan' to stop the flow of migrants into Italy, Von der Leyen handed over a large sum of cash to Tunisia as an incentive to stop the exodus from their borders.
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The plan attracted criticism from EU High Representative Josep Borrell and former Commissioner Frans Timmermans.
EU member states are said to have expressed "incomprehension" when Von der Leyen rushed into the pact with Tunisia.
The criticism comes ahead of crucial European Parliament elections next year.
Von der Leyen's party, the European People’s Party, is grappling to cling on to power despite challenges from both the right and the left.
Josep Borrell, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy earlier this month wrote a letter to Olivér Várhelyi, the European commissioner for neighbouring countries.
According to the Guardian, he said: "As you know … in July, several member states expressed their incomprehension regarding the commission’s unilateral action on the conclusion of this [memorandum of understanding] and concerns about some of its contents."
But defending the plan, European People’s Party chief Manfred Weber said the party has "little patience for procedural objections to the Memorandum of Understanding as raised by the High Representative.
"There is no conceivable alternative to an agreement to get immigration from Tunisia under control, and it is good the Commission has shown leadership on this issue,” Weber said in comments sent by text message.
"We should not badmouth the agreement [between the EU and Tunisia] now, but do everything we can to implement it.
"This includes paying the first 105 million euros for border protection to Tunisia quickly."