Heads of state from France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Malta have demanded the EU does more to control migration flows.
In a joint statement at a summit of the so-called “EU Med Group”, the leaders warned: “The management of migration flows will be a fundamental challenge for the EU in years to come. The southern EU countries are particularly concerned and affected.
“The fundamental burden of protecting our borders should be recognised and shared by the EU.”
The statement was the latest in a long series of repeated calls by the EU Med Group for a more even distribution of migration flows.
Southern European countries have born the brunt of the refugee crisis, taking in boatloads of new arrivals who are then meant to be distributed across the EU in accordance with quotas.
However these quotas have never been fully implemented as many EU states are deeply hostile to taking in their designated share of the “burden”.
Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban has refused to allow refugees into his country, claiming people “do not want immigration”.
The leader has controversially stood firm against any type of migration, suggesting some cultures are incompatible with Hungary.
He told Bild: “I can only speak for the Hungarian people, and they don’t want any migration.
“In my understanding, it’s not possible for the people to have a will on a fundamental issue and for the government not to comply with it.”
He labelled refugees “invaders”, claiming they were coming to Europe for economic reasons, rather than to escape genuine persecution or danger.
Hungary is among a few EU member states that have pledged not to resettle refugees.
Along with Poland and Czechia, it will be sued by the European Commission for refusing to accept its share.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega