EU legislators agreed on Tuesday to create a new European Union asylum agency, the European Commission announced.

The European Parliament and the Council of the EU representing member states reached a political deal on transforming and boosting the competencies of the already existing European Asylum Support Office.

The new institution, named European Union Agency for Asylum, will provide more efficient support for EU states in managing asylum applications.

It will help member states with training and exchange of information, as well as by sending personnel in case of a request from a reserve of 500 experts, including interpreters, case handlers, and reception specialists.

The EU Agency for Asylum will develop EU-wide standards for handling and deciding asylum applications, and will also be responsible for monitoring the functioning of national asylum systems.

The agency will also be tasked to assist resettlement of refused applicants in non-EU countries.

The European Commission proposed last September a New Pact on Migration and Asylum, mainly focusing on returns, pre-entry checks, and partnerships with third countries to prevent migration flows.

A new asylum agency was one of the recommendations in the reform package.

The political agreement has to be officially adopted by the European Parliament and the Council for the new agency to be launched.

Last year, EU member states granted international protection to over 280,000 people in total.

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