EU Leaders at Odds Over Migrant Crisis as Week of Summits Gets Underway

Today marks the start of a week of intense political activity, as bitterly divided European leaders try to find a solution to the worst refugee crisis since World War II at a series of summits.

Foreign ministers from four eastern European countries will hold talks on the issue on Monday afternoon, while EU interior ministers are to meet on Tuesday, and European leaders will attend an extraordinary summit on Wednesday.

The foreign ministers of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are expected to continue to voice their opposition to Germany's demands for migrants to be evenly distributed across the continent when they convene today, according to the BBC. Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said on Sunday that the country would take a "symbolic" number of refugees.

The French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are continuing to call on the rest of Europe to take their fair share of the new arrivals. "Germany is willing to help. But it is not just a German challenge, but one for all of Europe," Merkel told a gathering of trade unionists on Sunday. "Europe must act together and take on responsibility. Germany can't shoulder this task alone."

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Merkel also made clear that Germany would not be able to accept economic migrants, but rather those fleeing war and conflict.

On Tuesday, the EU's interior ministers are expected to agree on a voluntary relocation scheme to redistribute 160,000 refugees from Europe's frontline states. Hollande has said that "no-one can be exempt" from taking in people with the right to asylum.

On Sunday Hungary raced to put up a steel gate at a border crossing with Croatia. Croatia's interior minister, Ranko Ostojic, told the BBC the situation was "impossible for a small country" like his, and that 27,000 migrants had entered the country in the past five days. Croatia has been sending the new arrivals north by bus and train to Hungary, which in turn has sent them on to Austria.

At least 15,000 refugees mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq were funnelled from Croatia into Hungary and then onwards to Austria over the weekend, the Austrian news agency APA said.

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EU Leaders at Odds Over Migrant Crisis as Week of Summits Gets Underway |