BRUSSELS, KOMPAS.com - The EU made a major overhaul to Europe’s asylum system Wednesday after years of disputes among the 27-member bloc over the handling of migrants and refugees.
The European Union hopes that the changes made to Europe’s asylum system will get more countries to share responsibility for people landing on the continent's shores seeking sanctuary or better lives.
The bloc took the major step after acknowledging the failure of its existing EU system for deciding whether migrants and refugees should receive protection or be sent home.
“The old system to deal with it in Europe no longer works,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels, adding that the “New Pact for Migration and Asylum” offers Europe “a fresh start”.
The arrival in 2015 of well over 1 million migrants, mostly refugees fleeing war in Syria, sparked one of the EU’s biggest political crises.
EU nations have fought since over who should take responsibility for the migrants, with front-line Mediterranean nations like Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain demanding more help from their EU neighbors.
The arguments rage on even though the number of unauthorized migrants has dwindled sharply in recent years.
Some 140,000 people arrived last year, compared to around 2 million migrants who entered legally, the European Commission says. Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan have had to cater to far more.