PARIS: Francois Hollande has said France will welcome 24,000 refugees as part of an EU-wide plan that “can and will” bring the crisis under control.
Speaking at the start of a live TV press conference, the French president said his country has a duty to take in those fleeing war and persecution, and is ready to do so.
His comments came as David Cameron prepared to outline Britain’s plan to tackle the refugee crisis. The Prime Minister was expected to say that the UK would take “thousands” more asylum-seekers as part of a “fundamental rethink” of its role as a place of refuge.
Hollande also said that France would begin military operations over Syria as part of its response to the crisis.
He said reconnaissance missions would begin on Tuesday, with a possible goal of launching future air strikes against Isis militants in that country.
“We have proof that attacks have been planned from Syria against several countries, notably France,” he told the news conference.
“My responsibility is to ensure that we are informed as much as possible on the threats to our country … so I have asked the defence minister that from tomorrow reconnaissance flights begin over Syria that will enable us to consider air strikes against ISIS.”
Hollande said he and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, had spoken and agreed upon a mechanism to distribute refugees more fairly across Europe.
Also speaking on Monday, Merkel told reporters that she and other European leaders “have a moving, in some parts breathtaking, weekend behind us”.
The Reuters news agency reported that the EU executive was preparing to unveil a new set of quotas for more asylum-seekers to be shared across Europe.
Proposals to be announced on Wednesday will reportedly involve relocating a further 31,443 refugees in Germany, as well as the additional 24,031 Hollande appears to have agreed to in France. In total, it will mean Europe taking in 120,000 people on top of the 40,000 previously agreed.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.