European leaders have been told to expect the “greatest tide yet” of migrants to flood Europe by European Council president Donald Tusk.
During a five hour talk at an emergency summit in Brussels on Wednesday, David Cameron and other European leaders agreed to relocate 160,000 people from Italy, Greece and Hungary.
Announcing proposals for more than €1 billion to be mobilised, he said leaders agreed to give extra help to countries neighbouring Syria such as Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.
“It is clear that the greatest tide of refugees and migrants is yet to come,” Mr Tusk added. “Therefore we need to correct the policy of open doors and windows.
“Leaders also agreed that the current chaos at our external borders must end.”
His remarks came as political tensions continued to rise between Hungary, Croatia and Serbia, where refugees travelling along the Western Balkans route are finding it increasingly difficult to find passage into the EU.
The Hungarian government hopes its controversial new fence along the border with Croatia, following the 110-mile barrier with Serbia, will be completed at the weekend.
It previously accused Croatia of violating international law by aiding refugees boarding trains into its territory, but authorities in the former Yugoslav state are still taking migrants to the Hungarian border, where most travel on to Austria.
Meanwhile, Croatia has shut all but one of its border crossings with Serbia, crippling its neighbour’s economy as a conduit for cargo traffic to central and western Europe.
Aid agencies have described “confusion and unrest” among the thousands of refugees caught in the political crossfire, who are frequently stopped or detained during their journeys with little information.
Speaking from Croatia’s Opatovac camp, on the Serbian border, a spokesperson for Save the Children said: “Added to how tired people are from travelling for days if not weeks, the atmosphere has been very tense inside, and when buses come the younger stronger refugees have often made it to the front of the queue.
“We are concerned about families with babies and small children, pregnant women, those with disabilities and the elderly who are particularly at risk of missing buses and having to remain in the camp longer or worse, getting trampled in the crowds.”