“The whole country has been deeply moved by the heartbreaking scenes over the last few days,” said Cameron. “‘It’s absolutely right that Britain must fulfill its moral responsibility.”
The decision to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees marks a significant U-turn in the Government’s policy in less than a week.
It had previously focused efforts at tackling the humanitarian crisis at source, pledging £1bn of aid to Syrian refugee camps in neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
“Since the beginning of the year, 350,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean to reach Europe,” said Hollande on Monday. “It’s a tragic and serious crisis. It can be brought under control and it will be.”
Germany, which expects to receive up to 800,000 refugees and asylum seekers this year, has urged other European countries to do their part in handling what the EU’s Migration Commissioner called “the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War.”
“Germany is a country willing to take people in, but refugees can be received in all countries of the European Union in such a way that they can find refuge from civil war and from persecution,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “It is time for the European Union to pull its weight.”
[Image via AP Images]