PM pledges extra £115m to tackle refugee crisis

British Prime Minister David Cameron attends  the emergency EU heads of state summit on the migrant crisis at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday
British Prime Minister David Cameron attends the emergency EU heads of state summit on the migrant crisis at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday

David Cameron has committed an extra £115 million to tackle the migration crisis as European leaders attempted to overcome bitter divisions to agree a unified response.

The Prime Minister announced the new funds as he arrived at an emergency summit in Brussels.

An extra £100 million will be given to help refugees displaced in camps in countries neighbouring war-ravaged Syria, taking the UK’s contribution in the region to £1.1 billion.

In addition, the UK will provide £14.5 million towards aid in Europe, the Western Balkans and North Africa, including £2 million for agencies in Libya.

Mr Cameron called on leaders to adopt a “comprehensive approach” and called for more to be done in nations which have seen dramatic exoduses in an effort to stop the thousands entering Europe.

“We need to do more to stabilise the countries and regions from which these people are coming,” he said.

“ When it comes to Syria, Britain has already given over £1 billion, more than any other country other than the United States.

“And today I can announce we will commit another £100 million, including £40 million to the vital World Food Programme because we must make sure people in refugee camps are properly fed and looked after, not least to help them but also to stop people wanting to make or thinking of making this very, very difficult and very dangerous journey to Europe.”

EU leaders were discussing the crisis over a three-course dinner in the Belgian capital the day after interior ministers agreed a controversial plan to relocate 120,000 refugees currently in Italy, Greece and Hungary among the member states.

The scheme provoked a furious row, with four former Eastern bloc states – Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic – voting against, while Finland abstained.

Britain – which is not required to take part as it is not part of the “borderless” Schengen area – has exercised its right to opt out.

The president of the European Council Donald Tusk, who summoned the meeting, said it was “critical” that member states set aside their differences and agree on a concrete plan “in place of the arguments and the chaos we have witnessed” in recent weeks.

See Morning View, page 18