Huge numbers of refugees have travelled from the Middle East to southern Europe, overwhelming the economies of Greece, Hungary and Italy.
The European Commission has proposed that 120,000 refugees in these three countries be redistributed to other members states to spread the burden of housing and feeding them.
Most EU countries say they will take part in the scheme: but Britain has refused.
Although David Cameron has said the UK will now take 4,000 refugees a year from Syria, he has previously ruled out taking anyone who has already entered the EU.
Despite being in better economic shape than most of its neighbours, Britain has used its 'opt out' on the quota and left the situation for other countries to deal with.
The chart below shows the number of refugees proposed to be re-allocated within the EU to each country.
David Cameron warned earlier this month that Britain could not take "more and more" refugees, though the country's commitment has been limited in comparison to other European nations'.
The Government today appointed a new “Minister for Refugees” to help coordinate Britain’s role in the on-going European crisis.
Conservative MP Richard Harrington has been made a junior minister with a portfolio spanning three departments - the Home Office, the communities department, and the international development department.
“Richard Harrington will be responsible for coordinating and delivering work across government to resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK, along with coordinating the provision of government support to Syrian refugees in the region,” a statement from the Government said.
The appointment comes as David Cameron visits a refugee camp in Lebanon on a fact-finding mission.
“I wanted to come here to see for myself the enormous challenges facing Lebanon as it shoulders the burden of refugees fleeing Syria and understanding what more we can do to help you,” he said at a joint press conference with Tammam Salam, the prime minister of Lebanon.
Mr Cameron said the UK would direct aid to Lebanon to help keep the country secure and noted that the UK had already helped train 5,000 Lebanese soldiers and assisted the building of a line of watchtowers on the country’s border with Syria.
Refugees march from Hungary to Austria
Refugees march from Hungary to Austria
1/10 Refugees march from Hungary to Austria
Migrants walk in a long line along the highway near Budapest, Hungary, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015
2/10 Refugees march from Hungary to Austria
Migrants walk on the railway tracks between Bicske and Szar, some 40 km west of Budapest, Hungary, 04 September 2015
3/10 Refugees march from Hungary to Austria
The destination for most of those walking is reportedly Austria
4/10 Refugees march from Hungary to Austria
Most refugees have come to Hungary through the southern border with Serbia
5/10 Refugees march from Hungary to Austria
People walk in a long line along the highway near Budapest, Hungary
6/10 Refugees march from Hungary to Austria
Over 150,000 people seeking to enter Europe have reached Hungary this year
7/10 Refugees march from Hungary to Austria
Refugees walk along Budaorsi Street on their way out of Budapest
8/10 Refugees march from Hungary to Austria
Refugees hold up an EU flag as they on the highway out of Budpest
9/10 Refugees march from Hungary to Austria
Refugees exit Budapest
10/10 Refugees march from Hungary to Austria
Hundreds of migrants walk after leaving the transit zone of the Budapest main train station
He praised the way the country had integrated Syrian refugee children into its schooling system.
Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn this morning told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the UK had to “work in alliance and cooperation with our European allies” in order to solve the refugee crisis.
The crisis took a new turn this weekend as Germany, which has been acting as a safe-haven for refugees, reintroduced border controls – leaving thousands stranded in transit in other countries.