This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.
Today, the new European Union Agency for Asylum starts work with its reinforced mandate, building on the achievements of its predecessor, the European Asylum Support Office. The new agency is a key deliverable under the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. It will help ensure that asylum decisions are taken in a fast and fair manner and that reception standards converge across the EU, bringing more uniformity in decision making and alignment between Member States’ asylum systems.
A stronger agency to support the EU’s asylum system
Building on the experience of the European Asylum Support Office, the new agency will have a reinforced mandate that will contribute to:
- More efficient asylum systems through greater operational and technical support to Member States, including training (with particular emphasis on reception conditions), preparedness, information analysis, and exchange of information.
- Improved assistance: A reserve of 500 experts including case handlers, interpreters or reception specialists will be ready to be deployed rapidly as part of asylum support teams at the request of Member States. Agency experts will have the mandate to prepare the entire administrative asylum procedure for decision by national authorities, and offer assistance in the appeal stage.
- Uniform, high-quality decision-making by developing operational standards, guidelines and best practices for the implementation of Union law on asylum.
- Greater convergence in the recognition rates by developing country guidance on countries of origin which Member States should take into account when assessing asylum applications.
- Better monitoring and reporting on Member States’ asylum and reception systems, to be developed in the future, allowing the Agency to monitor the operational and technical application of EU asylum law to ensure more consistent practices throughout Europe, fully in line with EU law.
- Capacity building in non-EU countries to improve asylum and reception systems and support EU and Member State resettlement schemes, building on the existing cooperation with UN agencies.
- An independent Fundamental Rights Officer and a new complaints mechanism will ensure the safeguard of asylum applicants’ rights.
Over the past 10 years, EASO trained more than 40,000 people across Member States, registered 40% of all asylum applications in Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta, carried out 80% of best interest assessments for children in Greece and supported all post disembarkation relocations from Cyprus, Italy and Malta.
The new agency will receive €172 million of EU funds in 2022 and will launch 8 operations (in Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Spain) supporting asylum and reception authorities in Member States with almost 2,000 personnel.
Its new reserve of 500 experts will also provide more effective support to national asylum systems facing a high caseload, making the overall EU migration management system more efficient and sustainable.
The new EUAA is the second legislative proposal to be implemented under the New Pact, following agreement on the Blue Card Directive in May 2021. Operational aspects are also already being implemented, such as enhanced work on the external dimension of migration policy, stronger coordination on returns, or the deployment of European Border and Coast Guard standing corps. Negotiations on the remaining legislative proposals continue in the European Parliament and the Council.