A cross-party group of 14 British MEPs have written a letter to David Cameron urging him to take part in an EU resettlement scheme to address the current refugee crisis facing Europe.
Under the proposal, outlined by Commission President Juncker today in a speech to the European Parliament, a total of 160,000 refugees would be redistributed around the EU. They would be relocated around the EU from Italy, Greece and Hungary, who are struggling to cope with the number of migrants arriving at their borders.
According to the proposal France would take in around 24,000 refugees, Germany 31,000, Spain 15,000 and Poland 9000 over the next two years. The UK has so far refused to take part in any EU-wide resettlement scheme.
Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder said:
"Our partners in the EU are exasperated by David Cameron's stubborn refusal to take part in a collective European response to this crisis.
"By refusing to take a single refugee that has arrived on Europe's shores, the UK government is shirking our international duty and lowering Britain's standing in the world.
"Of course we must do more to tackle the causes of the refugee crisis at source, but we cannot turn a blind eye to the human tragedy unfolding right now on our continent."
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, who co-ordinated the letter alongside Catherine Bearder MEP, said:
“David Cameron’s offer to take in 4000 refugees a year from established camps fails to meaningfully address the current crisis. There is a momentous population shift which he seems intent on ignoring.
"Signing up to the EU’s migration quotas would be a much fairer and more accurate approach to take".
Glenis Willmott MEP, Labour's Leader in the European Parliament, said:
"The Prime Minister should be leading efforts for a common EU plan for relocation and resettlement of refugees - not acting in isolation, weeks after Germany and other countries have taken the lead.
"We need a long-term solution, with Britain opting into a comprehensive EU plan to tackle a crisis which is likely to go on for some time and will require solidarity on refugees and measures to halt people-smuggling and the root causes."