Tuesday, 18 January 2011

EurAsylum's interview with Commissioner Malmström

In October 2010, EurAsylum interviewed Commissioner Malmström on developments in the EU’s immigration and asylum policies. EASO features in EurAsylum’s last question:

Eurasylum: An important development during the Stockholm four-year period, and in particular over the coming months, will be the implementation of the core mandate of the newly established European Asylum Support Office (EASO), which aims to promote and enhance practical cooperation among Member States on asylum matters, and to coordinate common action to assist Member States under particular pressure. Can you comment on the anticipated benefits, and possible challenges, of EASO’s forthcoming activities, particularly as regards the effective implementation of the concept of ‘EU responsibility sharing’ in the field of asylum?

Cecilia Malmström: The core mandate of the European Asylum Office, which will be located in Malta, is to support practical co-operation within the EU, to support those Member States that receive the most asylum seekers, and to contribute to the implementation of the Common European Asylum System. The EASO will support national processing by preparing factual reports on countries of origin and coordinating the analysis of this information. The EASO will also be responsible for gathering information in a coordinated manner, in particular through a new portal concerning information on countries of origin, but also by drawing on previous experience from projects in Member States. As regards EU responsibility sharing, the EASO will have the possibility to send Asylum Support Teams to EU Member States that are subject to large numbers of asylum seekers and therefore need EU assistance. The effective mobilisation of these teams and the success of their missions will in large part rely on the willingness of the Member States involved. Another important role of the EASO is to gather information on national asylum systems and help store and manage this data in factual, law and jurisprudence databases. Once up and running, the EASO will therefore play a crucial role as a centre of expertise on the Member States' asylum systems, and thereby will be able to contribute to better implementation of the asylum legislation. I expect the EASO to be operational in the summer of 2011. Its executive director will be nominated very soon. Once EASO becomes fully operational, our practical cooperation both within the Union and with non-EU countries and international organisations should be reinforced.”

The full interview is available on EurAsylum’s site, here.

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