British Prime Minister David Cameron is standing behind his government’s decision not to sign on to the European Union’s plan to take in 120,000 refugees.
The deal, which was agreed upon on Tuesday by E.U. member states that are bound to recognize the body’s migration policy, aims to distribute the migrants evenly among European countries. However, it comes with the cost of foisting mandatory migrant quotas on each member state. The quotas were a problem for Cameron and the United Kingdom — which is not bound by E.U. migration and asylum policy — refused to participate in the negotiations, according to the Daily Express.
“If all the focus is on redistributing quotas of refugees around Europe, that won’t solve the problem and it actually sends a message to people that actually it’s a good idea to get on a boat and make that perilous journey,” Cameron told British parliament September 9, according to Agence France-Presse. “Europe has to reach its own answers, for those countries that are part of Schengen. Britain, which has its own borders, has the ability to make sovereign decisions.”
Cameron’s decision not to accept the terms of the deal has angered Germany. One leading German politician warned that there would be repercussions for the refusal, particularly when it comes to discussing E.U. migration laws that the United Kingdom wants reformed.
“To be frank, if the British government wants a renegotiation they need the willing of the others, especially of the German government,” Stephan Mayer, a member of German parliament and spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, said in an interview with BBC radio.
The U.K. has agreed to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees this year and spend another £100 million in aid for refugee camps in the Middle East. However, those refugees are coming directly from the area surrounding Syria and not from the flood of migrants that overwhelmed Europe’s borders this summer. In contrast, Germany is planning to take in 800,000 refugees this year and many of them will be selected from the summer exodus.
Britain is not the only country to oppose the E.U. agreement. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia voiced opposition against the mandatory refugee quotas but were overruled by the majority. (RELATED: EU Agrees To Force Several Members To Take In Migrants)
In addition to his reluctance to accept migrants who entered Europe illegally, Cameron would like the E.U. to “do more to return the migrants” who have no legitimate claim of asylum back to their country of origin, the Independent reports.