It represents an abrupt U-turn for the U.K. leader, who had previously said accommodating more people was not the answer, instead focusing on the root cause — Syria’s civil war.
“We will do more,” said Cameron, who had come under attack for not only the U.K.’s response — to date it has granted asylum to around 5,000 Syrians that have made their way to Britain and around 200 through the U.N.-back relocation scheme — but also for his tone, having previously referred to the people fleeing war and poverty as a “swarm.”
Ireland likewise announced that it would resettle more refugees, taking in at least 1,800 refugees, tripling its earlier commitment of accepting about 600 people over the next two years.
Antonio Guterres, the U.N.’s high commissioner for refugees said the EU's response to the crisis would be a "defining moment" for the bloc, warning that a divided EU would benefit only smugglers and traffickers.
An EU official on Friday said the bloc was crafting a plan to distribute an additional 120,000 refugees across its 28-nation membership, including the relocation of 54,000 refugees from Hungary, 50,400 from Greece and 15,600 from Italy.
But a consistent plan from the EU is far from assured; countries are still deeply split over how to respond.
Britain’s stance has been unfavorable compared with that of Germany, which plans to receive 800,000 refugees this year and has budgeted billions in additional welfare spending for them.