EU President Donald Tusk has warned that the refugee crisis affecting Europe was part of an "exodus" from war-torn countries that could last years.
Speaking to the Bruegel Institute think-tank in Brussels on Monday, Tusk said the current movement of people mainly from the Middle East would be a "problem for many years to come".
"The present wave of migration is not a one-time incident but the beginning of a real exodus," Tusk said.
European leaders are scrambling for solutions as bloody conflicts in mainly Syria and Iraq send hundreds of thousands of refugees on dangerous voyages through the Balkans and across the Mediterranean to the 28-nation EU.
"Let us have no illusions that we have a silver bullet to reverse the situation," he said.
Tusk, who represents the bloc's leaders, urged for pragmatism and said member states must put aside their deep differences in facing the crisis.
"Also, we should not feel ashamed of our emotions," Tusk said, just days after an image of a refugee toddler drowned on a beach in Turkey shocked the world.