David Cameron Says Taking More Refugees Is 'Not The Answer' To Crisis

PM Refuses To Budge On EU Refugees

The EU's current migration crisis won't be solved by the UK taking in more refugees, David Cameron has declared.

Despite a growing clamour for Britain to do more to help those fleeing war and persecution in Syria, the Prime Minister stood firm to his position that the real 'answer' lay in tackling the root causes of the problem.

But his remarks came as Germany's ambassador to the UK today added to the pressure on London, urging all EU states to do more to help and making clear that Britain should take tens of thousands more refugees to reflect its size and population.

Yesterday, Labour's Yvette Cooper became the first senior British politician to call for a specific number of Syrians to be admitted to the UK, calling for 10,000 to be settled, with just 10 in every borough.

Today, as distressing pictures emerged of the body of a young boy washed up on a beach in Turkey, Ms Cooper stepped up her demand for action.

Mr Cameron said the Government were keeping under 'review' the numbers who could be let in, yet made clear he wanted other longer-term solutions.

"We have taken a number of genuine asylum seekers from Syrian refugee camps, we keep that under review, but we think the most important thing is to try to bring peace and stability to that part of the world.

"I don’t think there is an answer that can be achieved simply by taking more and more refugees."

The Prime Minister added: "We’re taking action right across the board. We’re helping the countries from which these people are coming, stabilising and trying to make sure there are worthwhile jobs and stronger economies there.

"We’re obviously taking action at Calais in terms of the Channel, which I’ve described on previous occasions. There’s more that we need to do and we’re working together with our European partners as well. These are big challenges but we will meet them."

Ms Cooper told HuffPost UK: "When mothers are desperately trying to stop their babies from drowning when their boat has capsized, when people are being left to suffocate in the backs of lorries by evil gangs of traffickers and when children's bodies are being washed to shore, Britain needs to act.

"It is heartbreaking what is happening on our continent. We cannot keep turning our backs on this. We can - and must - do more. If every area in the UK took just ten families, we could offer sanctuary to 10,000 refugees. Let's not look back with shame at our inaction."

A source close to Ms Cooper told The HuffPost UK: "Cameron needs to get his act together and take action - of course peace and stability is needed as is helping those in peril right now"

The number of migrants entering Europe has soared this summer, with 107,500 arriving in July alone. But while Germany's refugee numbers have quadrupled, the UK has taken in just 200 Syrians.

Days after Angela Merkel made clear she was preparing to take in 800,000 refugees this year, Germany's ambassador Peter Ammon told the BBC's World at One programme that the strain was now obvious.

"Germany has taken in over the last months 43% of all asylum seekers that come to Europe," he said.

Asked if Mrs Merkel had Britain in her sights when she called for more burden-sharing, he replied: "She has everybody in her sights.

"This is a humanitarian challenge to Europe. Britain has been taking in refugees over centuries. And not to your disadvantage and I think we will expect that all partners will make the best efforts to contribute to a solution to this problem.

"Everybody knows how we feel about it, it is almost self-evident. Germany has taken in 43% of all refugees. We think that this number for Germany is too high, Germany represents around a quarter of the population, roughly a quarter of the European GDP if you take this as a yardstick. This gives you and idea how many Germany should take. I will not tell you how many you should take."

"With the humanitarian tradition that we have and you have we should be able to find a solution. We have just seen the beginning of a humanitarian crisis, with waves of migration, which will probably shape global politics for decades to come. We have to find answers to this."

Mr Ammon agreed that longer-term diplomatic solutions in Syria and Libya and other countries were needed.

Stephan Mayer, the home affairs spokesman for German chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU alliance told the Times that the UK's stance on refugees may harm Mr Cameron's ambitions to win powers back from the EU ahead of an in/out referendum.

"If the British Government is continuing to hold this position that Great Britain is out of the club in this big task in sharing the burden, certainly this could do some harm to the bilateral British-German relationship, and certainly also to David Cameron's ambitions to be successful in the renegotiation."

But Mr Ammon stressed that he would not link the UK's conduct on refugees to Mr Cameron's bid for EU renegotiation.

"I can't see that. Some people mistakenly think these negotiatons are of a bilateral nature between Germany and the UK that's not the case."

He said he was 'surprised' that the Austrian government had made a similar link between its willingness to agree British demands ahead of its referendum and EU demands that London take more refugees.

"We want to make Europe better, it's not a tug-of-war," Mr Ammon said.

Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham today accused the government of "burying its head in the sand" over the issue.

In a speech at the Royal United Services Institute Mr Burnham said: "This is a humanitarian crisis, not just a tedious inconvenience for British holidaymakers, as our government might have us believe."


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