UK's refugee stance 'could hit Cameron's EU reform plans'

Britain must help ease the "huge humanitarian burden" of the refugee crisis or risk damage to plans to renegotiate its relationship with the EU, a senior German spokesman has said.

Stephen Mayer, the home affairs spokesman for Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU alliance, said that Britain's belief that it is "out of the club" in sharing the burden of thousands of refugees and economic migrants entering Europe could damage its relationship with Germany and the rest of the EU.

Mr Mayer said Britain must help to ease the "huge humanitarian catastrophe" or Mr Cameron could lose support for his renegotiation plans.

The home affairs spokesman told The Times:

If the British Government is continuing to hold this position that Great Britain is out of the club in this big task in sharing the burden, certainly this could do some harm to the bilateral British-German relationship, and certainly also to David Cameron's ambitions to be successful in the renegotiation.

Stephen Mayer, CDU/CSU alliance
Thousands of migrants cross into Hungary in the hope of a fresh, safe, start. Credit: Reuters

Germany has said it expects to accept 800,000 asylum seekers this year whereas Britain received 25,771 asylum applications in the year ending June 2015, according to the Home Office.

Mr Cameron is hoping to rework the UK's position within the EU ahead of a referendum on membership due to take place before the end of 2017