Britain is urging the European Union to speed the deportation of people who do not qualify for asylum as the EU struggles with its biggest refugee emergency in decades.

Britain's interior minister, Theresa May, said Thursday that "we need to see Europe upping its game."

She said the EU "should be sending economic migrants back to their countries of origin. It's why we need to crack down on those who are abusing our asylum system."

May's remarks came ahead of a meeting of EU interior ministers in Luxembourg.

The EU has rules in place for deporting those who do not qualify for asylum or residency but less than 40 percent of people are actually sent home.