The UN high commissioner for refugees has called on the European Union to admit up to 200,000 refugees as part of a mass relocation programme that would be binding on EU states.

António Guterres said the EU was facing a defining moment and must “mobilise full force” towards a common approach to the migration crisis.

His intervention came as David Cameron confirmed that the UK will provide settlement for thousands more Syrian refugees, while the former chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks said Europe was being tested “as it has not been tested since the second world war”.

Speaking in Lisbon, Cameron said more details of the settlement plan would be set out next week. “Britain will act with our head and our heart” he said, insisting that the focus should be on ending the conflict in Syria.

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