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EU migration chief vows new pact will stop overcrowded refugee camps

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EU commissioner for home affairs Ylva Johansson
EU commissioner for home affairs Ylva Johansson   -   Copyright  AP Photos
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The EU's new migration pact will put an end to overcrowded refugee camps like the fire-hit one on the Greek island of Lesbos.

That's the claim of the EU's home affairs chief ahead of Brussels revealing its new strategy for managing migrants on Wednesday.

Its current approach of waiting for EU countries to share the bloc's migrant burden is criticised for creating bottlenecks in hotspots like Greece.

A recent fire at the overcrowded Moria camp - which had a capacity of 3,000 but housed more than 12,000 migrants - brought the EU's policy into fresh focus.

"Yes, no more Morias," said Ylva Johansson, the EU commissioner for home affairs, asked if the new pact would put an end to overcrowded migrant camps.

"I think it is obvious that Moria is the result, not only, but partly, of the lack of a common European asylum and migration policy.

"Everybody understands this [common European asylum policy] is a difficult task, of course. To be honest I don't think I'll have the chance to have too many 'hoorays' when I present my proposal, but I do think I will have acceptance and respect because I think we are finding the right balance where we show solidarity towards migrants, asylum seekers and between member states, but that we're also clear that those who are not eligible to stay - they have to be returned.

"It's obvious to everybody that ad hoc solidarity is not enough. So we need a proper system, but we need a proper system which also answers the pressure that member states can be under."

Commissioner Johansson promotes a speech by Ursula von der Leyen on migration

Last week, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said the Dublin regulation — which makes the EU country an asylum seeker first arrives in responsible for his or her claim — would be replaced in the new pact announced on Wednesday.

"Migrants are like you and I," Johansson told Euronews. "They are men and women, boys and girls; they have different opinions; they have difference experiences and they are human beings, and they have to be treated like that.

"I think it's very clear to everyone that migrants are paying a high price every day because we do not have a common European policy.

"But also, the trust between member states is being affected by a lack of a common European policy. So I hope to heal that with my proposal."