Migrant crisis: Europe must settle 200,000 refugees by end of 2016, UNHCR says
UN calls for 'exceptional response,' Britain vows to take 'thousands more' from Syria
Europe will have to accept at least 200,000 migrants and refugees by the end of 2016, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said Friday, as hundreds of refugees remained in limbo in Hungary.
Speaking to reporters, Guterres said the European Union should create a "mass relocation program … with the mandatory participation of all EU member states" for would-be recipients who clear a screening process.
He said a "very preliminary estimate" would be for the creation of at least 200,000 places to be added across the bloc.
As he spoke, hundreds of migrants broke out of a Hungarian border camp, and others set off on foot from Budapest, as authorities scrambled to contain a migrant crisis that has brought Europe's asylum system to breaking point.
Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban has said the human wave is a German problem, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the obligation to protect refugees "applies not just in Germany, but in every European member."
Orban said Budapest was defending Europe's Schengen zone of passport-free travel. He reiterated on Hungarian state radio Friday his determination to stop the refugees.
"Today we are talking about tens of thousands but next year we will be talking about millions, and this has no end," Orban said.
"We have to make it clear that we can't allow everyone in, because if we allow everyone in, Europe is finished," Orban went on. "If you are rich and attractive to others, you also have to be strong because if not, they will take away what you have worked for and you will be poor, too."
The UNHCR's Guterres called for "a massive relocation program in which all European states take part."
The situation calls for "an effective reception and registration mechanism" in Europe that can receive, register and identify people who need help, he said.
"We are facing exceptional circumstances; we need an exceptional response."
Human rights advocate Thorbjørn Jagland, secretary general of the Council of Europe, appeared with Guterres.
"It is contrary to the rule of law in Europe for this chaos to go on," he said.
Britain vows to take 'thousands more'
British Prime Minister David Cameron says his government will consult with non-governmental organizations and others before saying how many Syrian refugees will be accepted into the U.K.
Cameron said during a visit to Lisbon, Portugal, on Friday that Britain would accept "thousands more" Syrian refugees. Hours later in Madrid, he said the exact number will be worked out in coming days.
Britain will receive only Syrian refugees from camps in the Middle East. The aim of that, Cameron said, was to "send the message out that the best way to get a new life is not to make this perilous journey" across the Mediterranean to Europe.
With files from CBC News, The Associated Press
To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.
By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.
Become a CBC Account Holder
Join the conversation Create account
Already have an account?