UK Will Take In 20,000 More Refugees Over 5 Years

One opponent said that the plan falls "pitifully short of what's needed."

The UK plans to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday.

The move comes as the EU is expected to announce new refugee quotas for member states on Wednesday. Germany and France have already pledged to welcome thousands more people.

Cameron told Parliament on Monday that the refugee crisis is "the biggest challenge facing countries across Europe today."

"Britain should fulfill its moral responsibility to help those refugees just as we've done so proudly throughout our history, but by doing so we must use our head as well as our heart," he said, noting that the UK will only re-settle people from camps in the Middle East, not from other parts of Europe.

Critics were quick to argue that Britain still isn't doing enough. 

UK Green Party leader Caroline Lucas said the plan is "pitifully short of what's needed and of what British people want and expect. The UK should be taking more refugees -- and doing so as quickly as possible." 

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who heads the Church of England, called the announcement "a very slim response." 

Parliament will take up these concerns in a formal debate on Tuesday.

Other opponents noted that France will take in 24,000 refugees over two years, while Germany will accept over 31,000.

"You can't demand solidarity when there's a problem and shirk your duties when there are solutions," French President Francois Hollande said.


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