Published On: Fri, Sep 4th, 2015

United Nations calls on European Union to accept 200000 refugees

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The UN High Commissioner for Refugees called on Friday on the EU to admit up to 200 000 refugees as part of a “mass relocation program” that would be binding on EU states.

“People who are found to have a valid protection claim… must then benefit from a mass relocation program, with the mandatory participation of all EU member states,” Antonio Guterres said in a statement. “A very preliminary estimate would indicate a potential need to increase relocation opportunities to as many as 200 000 places,” he added.

EU leaders, split over sharing the refugee burden, are scrambling to agree a response in meetings on Friday.

In Hungary, hundreds of refugees are locked in a stalemate with authorities. Migrants hoping to reach the Austrian border have refused to disembark from a train surrounded by police in the Hungarian town of Bicske, 40km (25 miles) from Budapest.

Hungarian authorities want to move the migrants to a nearby refugee camp – but the migrants fear registering there will hamper their plans to seek asylum in Germany and other countries.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to step down at the end of the year

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said on Friday he would step down at the end of this year and not seek a renewal of his mandate.

Guterres goes as Europe struggles with its biggest refugee crisis since World War Two, as some of the 4 million Syrians who have fled war seek safety in the West, adding to numbers of people escaping violence and hardship in Africa and Asia. Guterres declined to confirm or deny rumours that he might seek to replace U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who will step down next year.

“My ambition is exactly to go to the end of the mandate doing exactly what I have to do. And then, we’ll see the next step. At the moment I think I have the plate full,” the 66-year-old former Portuguese prime minister told reporters.

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