French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has rejected the idea of a permanent quota system for distributing refugees across Europe, putting Paris at odds with Germany ahead of a summit to discuss the EU crisis over migration.
Speaking to reporters at a security conference in Munich, Valls said France would stick to its pledge to take on 30,000 of the 160,000 refugees European countries have agreed to divide among themselves, but would not accept additional numbers.
"We won't take any more," Valls said. He expressed admiration for Germany's readiness to take on more refugees, but added: "France never said 'come to France'."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to push European partners to accept so-called "contingents" of refugees at a meeting on Thursday in Brussels, shortly before European Union leaders come together for their summit.
Cobbling together a coalition of countries ready to accept more asylum seekers over time is crucial to Merkel's efforts to convince Turkey to stem the tide of refugees fleeing countries in the Middle East, notably Syria. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will attend the pre-summit meeting.
"France rejects this," Valls said of the permanent quota mechanism. He said France had received 80,000 asylum applications last year and was struggling with youth radicalisation and high unemployment.
In another sign of Europe's deep divisions over the influx of migrants and refugees, Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico said Germany had protested against plans by eastern European leaders to help Macedonia and Bulgaria seal their border with Greece, the entry point into the EU for many migrants.
Leaders of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, known as the Visegrad Group, meet on Monday in Prague with their Macedonian and Bulgarian counterparts and could offer them manpower and other aid, diplomats said on Friday.
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier - prominent social democrats in the government led by the conservative Merkel - have sent a letter to European Socialist leaders calling for a common approach, a message simultaneously sent to the central European governments.
"Such measures must be agreed together and may not be unilaterally directed against one member state," the letter said.
Closure of Greece's northern borders could strand migrants in Greece, which has been struggling to protect its sea borders as the huge influx of migrants and refugees arrive via Turkey.