A joint statement from the participants said that after hundreds of thousands of people trekked through the Balkans last year, many ending up in Germany, Sweden and also Austria, the inflow must be “massively reduced”.
Amnesty International hit out Wednesday at Europe's “shameful” response, saying most EU countries had “simply decided that the protection of their borders is more important than the protection of the rights of refugees”.
But despite sharp criticism also from Germany, Vienna says that it has no choice because the EU has failed to get off the ground any effective common strategy.
“I am optimistic that we can reach a joint EU response. The question is when,” Mikl-Leitner told a news conference. “We want to generate pressure so that the EU can reach a solution.”
An EU scheme agreed in September to relocate 160,000 people among EU nations under mandatory quotas, has seen just 598 relocated so far, with former communist members of the bloc opposing the plan and filing legal challenges.
“We did not take a unilateral decision,” Macedonia's Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki told Germany's Bild daily in an interview published Wednesday.
“We reacted because of the actions of other countries.”
'Chaos and confusion'
EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Dutch Migration Minister Klaas Dijkhoff said Tuesday they were “concerned” by the developments and by the “humanitarian crisis that might unfold”.
Their fears were echoed on Wednesday by Filippo Grandi, the new head of the UN refugee agency UNHCR, during a visit to Greece.
“The response is not closures, it is cooperation. It is cooperation between countries. Everybody has to take a share of this burden,” he added.