EU promises faster migrant help, list of 'safe countries'

AP News
Posted: Aug 31, 2015 9:18 AM

PARIS (AP) — A top EU official says the bloc must work faster to set up special migrant processing centers in Greece and Italy, acknowledging that European countries have acted too slowly to handle the huge waves of migrants this year.

The "hot spot" centers aim to help authorities quickly identify those in need of protection and distinguish them from economic migrants fleeing poverty. The International Organization for Migration says so far this year over 332,000 migrants have arrived in Europe.

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans also said Monday the commission would produce a list of countries deemed "safe" enough that their citizens would not be eligible for asylum, such as EU candidate countries in the Balkans.

Both moves came after pressure from Germany, France and Britain for faster, coordinated EU action.