UK Politics

David Cameron: Taking more and more refugees not answer

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Media captionDavid Cameron said dealing with the refugee crisis was a "challenge"

David Cameron has said "taking more and more refugees" is not the answer to the EU's current migration crisis.

The UK has faced calls to take more of the hundreds of thousands of refugees arriving in Europe, many from Syria.

Mr Cameron said: "We are taking action across the board... 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."

Asked about calls for the UK to do more, the prime minister said: "We are taking action right across the board - we're helping the countries from which these people are coming, stabilising them and trying to make sure that there are worthwhile jobs and stronger economies there.

"We're obviously taking action at Calais, in terms of the Channel - 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'll meet them."

'Humanitarian crisis'

The number of migrants entering Europe has reached record levels, with 107,500 arriving in July alone.

Germany expects to take in 800,000 migrants this year - four times last year's total.

The risks for migrants travelling through Europe were highlighted last week by the deaths of 71 people found in a lorry that had travelled to Austria from Budapest.

EU interior and justice ministers will meet in Brussels on 14 September to address the crisis.

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Stephan Mayer, the home affairs spokesman for German chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU alliance has said 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.

He told The Times: "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."

Labour leadership candidate Yvette Cooper has called for the UK to take in 10,000 more refugees, a stance backed by all of her rivals, with Andy Burnham accusing 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."

And acting Labour leader Harriet Harman said the UK and other European countries must show more urgency.

"I think the government is literally just not involving themselves properly," she told BBC News. "I think it's right that we give resources to those in the camps, it's right that we're part of the international effort as well which is very important to put pressure on those powers in the region to solve this problem, but it's also right we take more of those swept up in this immediate humanitarian crisis."

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