EU interior ministers were set to meet in Brussels on Monday after Germany’s decision to reintroduce border controls on its frontier with Austria.
Berlin’s move may jolt them into action; governments failed to agree on how to relocate 40,000 migrants back in July.
Ministers from the 28-member bloc will look at a European Commission proposal to relocate an additional 120,000 people, according to mandatory quotas.
But a group of central and eastern European countries oppose a mandatory scheme. They are the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
Their diplomats say that any solution – seen as being “imposed by Brussels” – won’t be accepted by their voters.
A failure to strike a deal today could see an emergency meeting of EU leaders called before the end of the month.
European governments could face a stark choice. Reform the bloc’s asylum’s rules or ditch – perhaps only temporarily – the ‘border-free’ travel area, which is known as the Schengen zone.