The Head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, is the driving force behind a highly controversial plan that will force every country within the European Union (EU) to accept a quota of refugee immigrants, including Britain.
The plans were unveiled in Brussels on Wednesday 13, May, but Britain says it will not accept any such proposal made by the European Commission to receive asylum seekers and refugees.
Declaration of war on EU Leaders
A senior EU official said: "Juncker's plan is practically seen as a declaration of war" on EU leaders. An excerpt from the proposal, seen by the Italian press prior to its unveiling on May 13, reads: "A permanent system for the EU is required to share the responsibility for large numbers of asylum seekers and refugees among its 28 member states."
It's understood that Juncker will propose an allocation of 20,000 refugees who will be distributed across EU member states according to their Gross Domestic Product (GDP), population size and track record for accepting asylum seekers.
Immigration Proposals likely to cause a rift
Juncker's plans are likely to cause a deep rift among member states according to senior EU officials. There's no doubt that his proposals will be opposed by many governments who are adamant that any kind of refugee quota system should be voluntary.
UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, said: "Asylum decisions should be entered into on a voluntary basis. Many of those seeking asylum are paying organised gangs to get them across the Mediterranean. If we're going to prevent people from putting their lives at risk to cross the Med, we need to prevent them from beginning their journey in the first place."
May added: "In recent weeks we have seen the devastation [referring to a fishing boat, which capsized off the south coast of Italy claiming the lives of hundreds of refugees on board] and dangers people face trying to cross the Mediterranean."
Juncker's proposals do have some support, with Austria, Germany and Italy, plus Sweden, which together accepts nearly half of all EU asylum seekers between them, in favour of this 'long-overdue proposal.'
However, some EU member states including Britain, Hungary, Ireland and Slovakia are against the plan, which requires the support of all 28 EU governments.
Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, said: "It is an insane idea to force a government to let refugees into their own country instead of defending their borders and then to say I will redistribute them among you. The proposal is completely unfair and indecent and therefore, we're unable to support it."
Germany received highest refugee numbers in 2014
According to the EU Statistics Agency, Eurostat, Germany received the highest number of refugees of any EU member state in 2014 taking in over 200,000. Sweden accepted 81,200, while Italy took in 64,600.
Juncker's proposal says 'emergency mechanisms' could come into action by the end of May to make sure that the distribution of people, 'clearly in need of international protection,' is fair across all EU member states. Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, said that countries in opposition to the plan are 'selfish'.