EU 'collapse' warning as leaders discuss refugee crisis

Refugees and migrants at the Austrian border with Slovenia. Credit: Reuters

The European Union faces collapse if member nations cannot agree plans to deal with the refugee crisis, Slovenia's Prime Minister has said.

The warning came as leaders of central and eastern European nations met to discuss next steps to deal with the thousands passing through the Balkan states each day.

"If we don't find a solution today, if we don't do everything we can today, then it is the end of the European Union as such," said Miro Cerar, after Hungary's sealing of its border saw 62,000 refugees and migrants arrive in Slovenia in the last week.

refugees arrived in Slovenia since Hungary completed fencing on its border

A draft statement from the nations involved called for a speeding up of the repatriation of rejected asylum seekers from countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan - turned away as economic migrants rather than refugees.

However, Germany said the crisis could not be solved without further talks with Turkey, who did not send anyone to the summit.

Brussels has already presented the Turkish government with a plan which would see them receive more EU funding to absorb more migrants fleeing Syria, in return for easier travel rules to Europe and a broadening of long-running talks over eventual Turkish membership of the union.