The European Union will be expanding the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) to cover more duties and enhance their capabilities, according to a press release published by the European Parliament.
According to the press release, EASO will have increased “operational and technical powers to facilitate cooperation among member states and contribute to converging asylum standard.”
At their session on 11 November 2021, Parliament voted in favor of expanding EASO to not only include the agency’s existing purpose and duties, but to create an entirely new, subordinate agency under EASO’s directive.
The new agency will provide technical and and operational assistance to Member States who request assistance dealing with a humanitarian or migrant crisis, such as the one taking place on the EU’s external borders with Belarus.
For example, this new agency could assist Member States in identifying and registering third country nationals arriving in the EU, or helping national authorities manage the EU’s international protection procedure.
In addition, there will be new posts created within the agency for Fundamental Rights Officers. These officers will be in charge of handling a new complaints system and ensuring that the new agency complies with fundamental rights outlined by the EU through the course of their duties.
The new agency will also be responsible for setting up a new “pool of at least 500 experts.” This group will consist of experts on migration and asylum from across the EU and be “swiftly deployed” to provide on-the-ground assistance and serve alongside the asylum support teams.
Finally, the new agency will be tasked with monitoring how well EU and Schengen Member States are complying with various aspects of the EU’s common asylum system to identify possible shortcomings, and serve as a kind of watchdog against abuses committed by individual Member States. The agency’s monitoring will begin from 31 December 2023.
As the migration and asylum situation in the EU has evolved, the EU must also change in order to best carry out their humanitarian objectives.
“Today’s adoption marks a historic moment for the reform of the Common European Asylum System by establishing the first building block of a new system. The negotiations were not always easy, but we focused on building bridges with the Council and overcoming differences to find agreement for a genuine, fully-fledged European Asylum Agency. This new agency will be able to address new challenges faced by the EU and provide adequate support to member states to make a difference on the ground,” said Elena Yoncheva, who steered the legislation through the Parliament.
The Parliament’s vote is likely directly in response to the situation at Poland’s borders with Belarus, where thousands of Migrants are stuck between Polish and Belarusian security forces.
With Belarus’s weaponization of migrants to the EU in retaliation of the EU’s building restrictive measures against them, the situation has worsened in recent weeks and has been ongoing for months, requiring a response at the EU-level, rather than at the national level.
More news of the EU’s migrant crisis will as reports keeping coming in.