Brussels: The EU on Monday pledged to help set up 100,000 places in reception centres along the migrant route through the Balkans, in a bid to end rising tensions on its eastern frontier over how to deal with the crisis.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made the announcement after crisis talks with the heads of 10 EU nations, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, plus the leaders of non-EU Albania, Serbia and Macedonia.
"Managing migration flows together is the only way to restore order, to slow down the uncontrolled flow of people. The uncontrolled flow of people must be stopped," Juncker told a press conference in Brussels.
The meeting comes after Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia on Saturday warned they could close their borders to stop them becoming a "buffer zone" for the tens of thousands of people streaming into Europe every day.
More than 670,000 people have reached European soil this year -- many of them fleeing violence in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan -- in the continent's worst migration crisis since World War II.
"This is one of the greatest litmus tests Europe has ever faced," Merkel told the press conference with Juncker.
Some 3,000 have died making the dangerous Mediterranean sea crossing and, with winter fast approaching, the fear is that more could face the same fate on the land route through the Balkans.