A TEAM of senior MEPs has been selected to lead the long-awaited overhaul Europe’s chaotic asylum system.
Existing rules known as the the Dublin Regulation say migrants have to claim asylum in the country they arrive in.
But they proved unworkable when Angela Merkel opened Germany’s doors to a million Syrian refugees last summer and tens of thousands of migrants poured into Greece and Italy as they tried to reach northern Europe.
Both countries are struggling to cope with vast numbers of migrants with a temporary relocation scheme resettling only a fraction of the numbers promised.
Strife-torn Greece has been particularly hard-hit with a deportation deal with Turkey and the erection of fences along the EU’s Balkan borders leaving more than 50,000 asylum-seekers effectively trapped in the cash-strapped country.
Most have been given rudimentary shelter in squalid and overcrowded camps where living conditions are dire and crime, corruption and sexual violence and exploitation are rife.
There are also serious problems along Italy’s borders with France where tightened border controls have left thousands of migrants stranded in dismal conditions.
Proposals to change the disastrous system were published in May.
Under the plans, asylum claims will still be heard in a migrant’s first country but an automatic relocation mechanism will kick in if a country receives more than 150 per cent of its annual quota.
The setting of quotas has been met with fierce opposition in national capitals with eastern and central European states reacting strongly against relocation figures. Hungary will test the issue in a national referendum next month.
Swedish MEP Malin Björk has been selected to lead the the Union Resettlement Framework and the unenviable task of shaping mandatory refugee quotas to make them more palatable to dissenting leaders.
Italian 5Star MEP Laura Ferrara leads the Asylum Procedures Directive, which sets out the processes for granting and withdrawal of asylum status.