Africa's envoy to the European Union says EU plans to process migrants in the countries they leave or transit on their way to Europe is "a dangerous approach."

The EU wants Niger, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco to pre-screen migrants and is sending immigration officers abroad to help assess asylum demands.

African Union Ambassador Ajay Kumar Bramdeo told EU lawmakers Wednesday that by outsourcing migrant management, the EU would be "shirking its own responsibility in receiving refugees and migrants, also in footing the bill for managing and controlling migration."

More than 280,000 people entered the EU illegally last year, according to EU figures released Tuesday.

Thousands have taken to rickety boats from conflict-torn Libya and Europe's border agencies are unable to cope.