The European Union leaders have discussed the influx of refugees from across the Mediterranean which is one of the most contentious issues among the EU member states in years, how to share out over 60,000 refugees who are mainly from Syria and Eritrean seeking asylum in Europe. After a revolt against plans for compulsory quotas, other European leaders eventually agreed to resettle 60,000 refugees arriving from the Mediterranean on a voluntary basis.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron has rebuffed attempts by European leaders to force Britain to take quotas of refugees from the Mediterranean after one of the toughest EU summits in recent memory. Mr Cameron was pressed by Germany, Italy and other nations to take some of the 60,000 migrants who have arrived in Europe after fleeing Africa and Syria. The Prime Minister used Britain’s opt out to block the demands, leaving European leaders descended into a furious and protracted debate.

According to the latest figures from Frontex, the EU’s border agency, the number of migrants arriving at the EU’s external borders has risen by a factor of 2.5 this year compared with 2014, from 61,500 to 153,000. The numbers coming through the Balkans were nearly nine times higher than last year. Mediterranean crossings last month were 29% up on April, and there has been a five-fold increase so far this year in those using the eastern Mediterranean route compared with the same period in 2014.