The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) has officially been replaced by the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) and gained several new functions as of 19 January 2021, according to the agency’s official website and an announcement from the European Commission.
The new functions of the EUAA, on top of what EASO already did, and major changes to the agency include the following:
- There will be a mechanism for quicker deployments of personnel to assist Member States.
- There will be a permanent reserve pool of 500 Member State officials that will be at the agency’s disposal.
- The asylum training curriculum will be greatly enhanced, with the goal of the EUAA developing into the EU’s accreditation body for international protection officials.
- More technical tools will be produced, including practical guides, recommendations, and analysis tools.
- A Fundamental Rights Officer will be assigned to ensure that the rights of applicants are upheld.
- The agency will have a more enhanced role in civil society organizations.
- EUAA liaison officers will be established in Member States with the possibility of establishing them outside of the EU as well.
- The agency’s work with non-EU countries will be enhanced to allow for better asylum support and reception capacity.
- A complaints mechanism will be established for anyone who feels that their fundamental rights have been breached.
- Finally, there will be a monitoring mechanism established in the coming years.
While most it is mostly the same people that are in charge of the EUAA that were in charge of EASO, the new changes in function will greatly enhance the agency’s abilities in aiding asylum seekers and Member States.
“This is a crucial moment for asylum and reception in the EU. The EUAA is a unique agency, with the tools and ability to support Member States and the Union itself in tangibly improving the application of the world’s only multinational asylum system. It demonstrates yet again that the EU can rise above political challenges, and I am confident that this significant accomplishment will act as an enabler for progress of other files in the asylum and migration reform portfolio,” said Nina Gregori, Executive Director of the EUAA.
In addition to the boost in functions and new name, the EUAA will also be given a budget raise, with a 2022 budget of €172 million.
The agency is also beginning its work with an unprecedented 8 operations in Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, and Spain.
More news on the agency’s operations will come as updates are announced.