German Chancellor Angela Merkel caused consternation by announcing in summer 2015 that her country's doors were open to refugees, which quickly swept round social media as an invitation for all displaced people in the Middle East and Africa to come to Europe.
The initial flows, through Greece and Italy saw hundreds die crossing the Mediterranean and the Aegean Seas leaving Athens and Rome totally overwhelmed with the crisis.
Plans to relocate refugees across Europe according to a mandatory quota system have met with stiff opposition and the EU has failed to make any serious inroads into a common immigration policy.
The Schengen borderless zone in Europe has been thrown into complete disarray with many EU member states erecting border fences or introducing border checks, in contravention of the principle of freedom of movement
The Visegen countries of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, joined by Macedonia and Bulgaria are all threatening an iron curtain which would cut Greece off from the rest of Europe to stall the influx of refugees.
Meanwhile, the US$3.35 billion EU-Turkey plan to stem the flow through that country has hardly got off the ground.
Eurozone Time Bomb
Add to that the Eurozone crisis and the Greek bailout — which many still believe will still not work — with Greece in recession and the International Monetary Fund saying the bailout terms are "unsustainable."
The harsh austerity terms imposed by its creditors have led to riots and demonstrations in Greece, which is struggling to cope with the refugee crisis as it is.
Add to that the horse-trading going on trying to avoid the UK leaving the EU, going to the core of the whole European dream and you have the perfect storm. As EU leaders sit around the table at their summit Thursday and Friday, they will stare in the abyss knowing the EU is on the brink of collapse unless they can pull a rabbit out of the hat.