European Council President Donald Tusk said on Friday he would summon EU leaders for an emergency summit unless they could agree on how to share out migrants.
The European Commission proposed in May a quota system for relocating across Europe 40,000 asylum-seekers fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa. EU member states blocked the plan, with eastern European countries particularly resistant to accepting migrants.
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday the number needed to be quadrupled to 160,000 from overburdened Italy, Greece and Hungary, with mandatory quotas.
Tusk, who chairs EU summits, said in a televised message that justice and home affairs ministers meeting in an emergency session on Monday should take a concrete and united step.
"After contacts I had with member states (in) the last few days I feel more hopeful today that we are closer to finding a solution based on consensus and genuine solidarity," he said.
"Without such a decision I will have to call an emergency meeting of the European Council still in September."
EU leaders are currently not due to meet at a summit until mid-October.