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Britain refuses to join EU plan to host migrants

David Cameron Credit: Reuters

The UK has opted out of an EU scheme to resettle migrants currently sheltering in Italy and Greece.

Last night EU leaders agreed a compromise plan - described by the Italian premiere Matteo Renzi as "modest" - to relocate 40,000 asylum seekers currently in southern Europe. Another 20,000 who are currently in camps outside the EU, and who are mostly from Syria and Iraq, will be moved into Europe.

Mandatory quotas were fought off by a coalition of eastern European countries in what are reported to have been fiery talks, while Britain has opted out completely.

Mr Renzi was reported to have accused other EU states of lacking "solidarity" because of their unwillingness to take in the thousands of largely Syrian and Eritrean refugees who have ended up in his country, telling them: "If you don't want to take the 40,000 you are not fit to be called Europe."

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Australia PM doesn't deny paying smugglers to 'turn back'

Tony Abbott has refused to deny reports in Australian media Credit: DEAN LEWINS / AAP

The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declined to comment on reports that the Australian Navy paid people-smugglers thousands of dollars to turn their boat of migrants away.

Australia has a very strict anti-immigrant policy, and has been diverting asylum seekers in increasing numbers either back to Indonesia, or into camps in Papua New Guinea and Nuaru.

However, Australian and Indonesian media this week reported that Abbott's government had paid people smugglers on a boat carrying 65 migrants around $5,000 Australian each to turn back, after being intercepted at sea.

Mr Abbott has declined to deny that this exchange took place, claiming that "we don't go into the details of operational measures on national security".

Govt migration target 'neither achievable nor desirable'

David Cameron's aim to reduce net migration to below 100,000 is "neither achievable not desirable", the Institute Of Directors said.

David Cameron speaking to an immigration officer today. Credit: PA Wire

Simon Walker, director general of the Institute Of Directors, said the Government's target was "difficult to understand" and was "undermining faith in the whole system".

"By setting a target that is neither achievable not desirable, they have only undermined faith in the whole system," he said.

"International students and highly-skilled individuals from abroad bring substantial benefits to the UK, but business groups cannot have a tin-ear to the widespread public unease about immigration.

"Companies need migrants to be able to fill skills gaps, but that is a different issue to making sure immigration law is properly enforced, including cracking down on the small number of bad employers who break the rules."

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