BERLIN: European Parliament president Antonio Tajani called for standardising benefits for asylum seekers across the EU, in an interview with German media Monday.
Following a complaint at the weekend by German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere that Berlin's generous offer of benefits for asylum seekers was drawing more applicants to Europe's top economy, Tajani told the Funke Mediengruppe the European Union needed a single standard.
Varying standards led to "a kind of asylum shopping and to asylum seekers and refugees moving on" to countries with better conditions, Tajani was quote as saying.
De Maiziere, a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, had told the Rheinische Post regional daily on Saturday: "The benefits for refugees in Germany are quite high compared to other EU countries. This is part of the pull effect towards Germany."
Speaking two weeks before a general election, de Maiziere stressed the need to harmonise asylum procedures for European nations, an issue already broached at the EU level.
Germany took in more than one million asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016. An asylum seeker arriving in Germany has the right to housing and up to 390 euros ($470) per month to cover food, clothing and other expenses.