Welsh MEP Derek Vaughan says David Cameron’s announcement that he will finally allow refugees to seek sanctuary in the UK is long overdue and we must act now, rather than continuing to stall while people suffer.
His statements coincide with the President of the European Commission's State of the Union address this morning, during which Mr Juncker pledged the relocation of 160,000 people more refugees across Europe and more funding to tackle instability the countries people are fleeing.
Mr Vaughan said:
”I visited Sicily recently and saw the desperation faced by people who have paid traffickers thousands of pounds for a perilous voyage across the Mediterranean, hoping to find safety in the EU. It was heart breaking to see so many fellow human beings fleeing murder, rape and hunger.
"Labour has been calling on the government to take more refugees - especially from Syria - for over 2 years. It is welcome David Cameron has now bowed to public pressure and acknowledged Britain needs to do its bit
"However, the government’s plan falls short of what is needed for Britain to fulfil its duty. Refugees need our help now - the government’s promise of 20,000 refugees over five years does not explain how many people Britain will accept in the coming weeks and months. Every day matters - five years will be too long for many trapped in camps or failing to find support having made the dangerous journey to Europe
“In comparison to other European countries we have a tiny percentage of refugees attempting to seek safety in the UK. Estimates suggest that between 2,000-5,000 migrants have reached Calais, which is between 1% and 2.5% of the more than 200,000 who have landed in Italy and Greece. The UK has a proud history of helping those fleeing conflict and persecution, we must not forget our values and we must do the humane thing and help those who need us.
"This month the European Parliament Budget Committee supported resources to address this refugee crisis and in June, the EU approved an extra €69.6 million for migration measures. The UK Government needs to be part of these efforts. We cannot turn our back on people in desperate need of our help."