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Brussels: EU ministers on Tuesday gave their final approval to a massive overhaul aimed at tightening the bloc’s migration and asylum laws that had been years in the making.

EU officials had been at pains to wrap up the migration reforms ahead of European elections scheduled for June. The issue has been politically divisive, especially since an influx of arrivals in 2015 that exposed the system’s weaknesses.

The overhaul consists of 10 pieces of legislation, which were supported by the vast majority of EU member states. Hungary and Poland voted against the entire package, however, and countries such as Austria and Slovenia opposed particular parts.

The new body of law is the product of years of fierce debate, which came to a head in a tense European Parliament vote on April 11.

Protesters disrupted the vote, throwing paper aeroplanes across the chamber and chanting “this pact kills, vote no!” The new laws require all 27 EU member states to take some responsibility for managing asylum applications - including those who voted against the reforms - but the package also makes the rules stricter for applicants. (DPA)

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