BRUSSELS - EU lawmakers on Wednesday insisted that new legislation dealing with immigrants' rights of asylum include special provisions to ease pressure on countries overwhelmed by an influx of migrants, such as Greece. A "draft regulation would introduce an early-warning and crisis management mechanism, to help remedy the root causes of dysfunctions in national asylum systems," the parliament said in a statement.
"Asylum seekers in the EU would be better protected, and would not be transferred to EU countries where there is a risk of inhuman or degrading treatment, under changes to EU asylum legislation endorsed by the civil liberties committee," it explained.
The EU legislature is expected to adopt the new law, which changes a so-called "Dublin" regulation laying down criteria for which country is responsible for handling asylum applications, by the end of the year.
"This is necessary to prevent asylum seekers from filing multiple applications or applying to a state of their choice after transiting through other EU countries," the parliament added.
Parliament rapporteur Cecilia Wikstroem, a Swedish liberal, said the changes to the law agreed by EU member states "provides stronger legal guarantees for individual refugees and clear rules for member states to live up to."
"The aim is to create a humane asylum system by the end of the year," she added. EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstroem, also Swedish, said "asylum seekers are people fleeing persecution, fearing for their security and even for their life in their countries of origin. "We have the responsibility to welcome them in a dignified manner." A growing number of European states have stopped sending asylum seekers back to Greece after a top human rights court denounced the squalid conditions they endure in the Greek immigration system.
Stripped to the bone of resources under bailout austerity, Greece has been overwhelmed by an influx of migrants crossing its porous border with Turkey. The country is struggling with tens of thousands of asylum applicants, many waiting years for approval. (Agencies)