EU and Turkish leaders are due to hold high-stakes migration talks on Monday, amid signs that efforts to stem the crisis are failing, while border fences along the migration route are creating chaos and leaving thousands stranded.

Some analysts have expressed little hope that the Brussels talks will deliver a breakthrough in the crisis, which has pitted those backing a European solution - such as Germany and Greece - against countries taking unilateral steps to stem the flows.

"I am very pessimistic," Angelo Bolaffi, Italy's leading academic on German affairs, told dpa. "I think that right now Germany is alone, with a bit of support from Italy and the desperate nation that Greece has become. The others have put up walls."

Last year, more than 1 million people reached Europe, with most of them crossing by sea from Turkey to Greece in the hope of reaching wealthy northern European countries. Many are asylum seekers fleeing the war in Syria, but economic migrants have joined their ranks.

The bloc is putting much of its hope into a deal struck with Turkey, offering to help fund the upkeep of refugees there in return for measures to prevent their departure.

But the impact has so far been limited. More than 120,000 people have already reached Europe by sea this year, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

Meanwhile, countries along the Western Balkan route are closing their gates, spurred on by an Austrian decision to impose refugee quotas. Scenes on the Greek-Macedonian border, where a fence has been erected to keep out migrants, turned ugly as clashes erupted this week.

The clampdowns have pushed Greece to the brink of a humanitarian crisis, with more than 25,000 people trapped there at present. Athens expects that this number could rise to 200,000. On Wednesday, the European Commission proposed emergency aid for Greece.

The coming days and weeks are considered by many as make-or-break for the EU's response to the crisis.

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos demanded "tangible and clear results on the ground" by next Monday, warning otherwise of a "risk that the whole system will completely break down."

"By March 7 we want a significant reduction in the number of refugees on the Turkish-Greek border," added German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, at talks in Brussels last week.

Ahead of Monday's summit, EU President Donald Tusk has embarked on a whistle-stop tour of the migration route to drum up support for a common European approach.

But he has also called on Ankara for "more intensive engagement ... to avoid a humanitarian disaster," ahead of talks later this week with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country has taken in the bulk of asylum seekers, is one of the staunchest defenders of the European approach: registering arrivals at the external EU borders; returning economic migrants; and redistributing refugees among member states.

"It is my damned duty and role that Europe finds a common way," she told German television audiences on Sunday. Merkel, whose popularity has taken a hit over her handling of the crisis, is under pressure ahead of regional elections in Germany on March 13.

Many see the migration crisis as a litmus test for the EU as a whole, at a time when euroscepticism is rife and Britain is preparing for a referendum on its future membership.

Europe will end up "losing itself" if it fails to implement what it has agreed, Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano warned last week, while Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said the bloc was steering "into anarchy."

The crisis will remain on the agenda after Monday's summit, with new proposals to tackle the migration surge expected before EU leaders meet again in mid-March.

On Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appealed for solidarity. He is expected to hold separate talks with Davutoglu next Tuesday, according to Turkish media.

"Greece is the territory in which Europe will confirm its principles and basic values, such as humanism and solidarity, or betray them," Tsipras told Italian daily Corriere della Sera. "We will all succeed together, or all fail together," he added.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.