Austria will build a fence along its border with fellow EU member Slovenia to slow down the migrant flow, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner says, as former Australian leader Tony Abbott advised Europe to adopt his border protection policy.
Austria and Slovenia are part of the passport-free Schengen zone and have been key transit countries for tens of thousands of refugees and migrants desperately seeking to reach northern Europe via the Balkans.
"This is about ensuring an orderly, controlled entry into our country, not about shutting down the border," Mikl-Leitner told public broadcaster Oe1 on Wednesday (local time).
Representing the conservative OeVP party, she added the situation risked escalating as people were forced to wait in freezing temperatures for hours before being allowed to cross from one nation into another.
"We know that in recent days and weeks individual groups of migrants have become more impatient, aggressive and emotional. If groups of people push from behind, with children and women stuck in-between, you need stable, massive measures," she said.
In Strasbourg, European Council president Donald Tusk warned Europe's worst migration crisis since World War II risked triggering "tectonic changes", as figures showed on Tuesday more than 700,000 newcomers reached the continent's Mediterranean shores this year.
"The situation will deteriorate even further," Tusk said, warning of a "new wave of refugees [arriving] from Aleppo and other Syrian regions under Russian bombardment".
"I have no doubt that this challenge has the potential to change the European Union we have built," he told the European Parliament.
"And what is even more dangerous, it has the potential to create tectonic changes in the European political landscape. And these are not changes for the better."
The flow shows no sign of abating despite the rapid approach of winter, according to the International Organisation for Migration, which reported the arrival of more than 9000 people in Greece over the weekend.
In London, delivering the annual Margaret Thatcher Lecture on Tuesday night, Abbott said "no country or continent can open its borders to all comers without fundamentally weakening itself.
"This is the risk that the countries of Europe now run through misguided altruism."
Abbott outlined the measures that his and John Howard's government put in place to stop boats bringing asylum seekers to Australia, including offshore processing, denial of permanent residency and turning boats back to Indonesia.
He said the boats had stopped, migrant detention centres had all but closed and there were no more deaths at sea.
"That's why stopping the boats and restoring border security is the only truly compassionate thing to do," he said to applause.
Meanwhile European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker slammed EU member states for providing less than half of the guards pledged to the bloc's Frontex border agency in migrant hotspots Greece and Italy.
"Member states have been moving slowly at a time when they should be running," he said.
Of the 775 border guards needed, EU countries have only provided 326 over the past month, Juncker said, adding that many bloc members had also failed so far to keep their promises of financial support.
The stinging criticism came after the EU vowed to help set up 100,000 places in reception centres in Greece and along the migrant route through the Balkans as part of a 17-point action plan devised with the countries most affected by the crisis.