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Fears EU is self-destructing on migrant crisis

European ministers are meeting Thursday to discuss the latest escalation in the region's migrant crisis amid rising concerns that the survival of the region could be at stake.

Interior and Justice Ministers from the European Union (EU) are meeting in Brussels to discuss plans agreed by Austria and the Balkan nations on Wednesday to fingerprint all migrants entering their countries and to turn away anyone without a passport or valid documents.


People walk on shore after arriving with other migrants and refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos by crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey on November 26, 2015.
BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images
People walk on shore after arriving with other migrants and refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos by crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey on November 26, 2015.

This comes as Greece and Eastern Europe also threatened to not cooperate with the EU if they were refused either more help with the crisis, or more leeway with relocation quotas, respectively.

Balkans rebel

At the meeting in Vienna on Wednesday, Austria warned that the influx of migrants needed to be reduced immediately with the country's interior minister saying it was "a matter of survival for the EU."

The country also criticized Germany for sending "mixed" messages over its stance on migrant crisis by calling on some countries to restrict the flow of migrants while supporting economically-depressed Greece by allowing migrants to travel onwards.

"Germany has to decide what signals Germany wants to send," Austrian interior minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said after talks with her counterparts from Western Balkan countries, Reuters reported, a region which most migrants travel through on their way from Greece to northern Europe.

Read More 1 million migrants arrived in Europe in 2015: UN

"Currently they (Germany) are sending the following signals: that they are allowing Greece to agree to the open-door policy, and on the other hand they are demanding that Austria stop all those who want to travel to Germany or reduce the quota of 3,200," Mikl-Leitner added.

Neither Greece nor Germany were invited to the meeting and both countries criticized the talks.

Greece also recalled its ambassador in Vienna after the exclusion, the country's foreign minister said according to Reuters.

'Warehouse of souls'

The meetings come as Europe looks increasingly divided over how to deal with the influx of migrants and refugees, mostly coming from civil war-torn Syria. Most migrants are entering the region via Turkey on land, or via Greece, Italy and the Balkans having traveled by boat.

Thousands have drowned attempting the sea crossing, swaying public opinion in favor of allowing refugees in to Europe but the sheer volume of migrants coming into the region is pressuring the authorities and governments facing the challenges involved in re-locating and integrating migrants.

Making matters worse, eastern European countries are also up in arms about a scheme agreed last September to relocate 160,000 migrants. On Wednesday, Hungary announced that it would hold a referendum on whether to accept compulsory EU quotas for relocating migrants.

Opposing the quota system, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said they threatened to "redraw Europe's cultural and religious identity." He is not alone in opposing the quotas with several of Hungary's eastern European neighbors, Poland and the Czech Republic, also opposing the scheme.

Read MoreEurope split over closing Greek borders to migrants

Meanwhile Greece, which stands at the frontline of the crisis, is showing signs that it can no longer cope with the influx especially as migrants are turned back from border checks in other countries effectively stranding them in Greece.

On Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his country risked turning into a "permanent warehouse of souls" and threatened to block future EU agreements if other member states do not share the burden.

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