EU funds for asylum reform

The European Commission is prepared to provide Greece with financial assistance to overhaul its beleaguered asylum system, which has more than 46,000 outstanding cases, the European Union home affairs commissioner said in Athens yesterday. «We are committed to help and assist Greece with money but also infrastructure and know-how to build a modern system,» Cecilia Malmstrom said following a meeting with Citizens’ Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis. «We are speaking of quite a big sum from different programs.» Malmstrom said Greece would have to absorb the EU funds by 2013, after showing that it has improved the internal administration of its asylum system. «We hope that the reform process will start as soon as possible,» she said. Papoutsis said a presidential decree that would fast-track the processing of outstanding applications is awaiting President Karolos Papoulias’s approval.