UNHCR published its comments on the Commission’s regulation proposal in April 2009. UNHCR states “as a non-voting member of the Management Board of the European Asylum Support Office, due to be set up in late 2010, UNHCR will encourage this body to focus on practical cooperation to improve asylum procedures and to ensure respect for refugee rights throughout the EU.”
The UNHCR comments are available here (pdf).
On 5th December 2008 ECRE published its reaction to the EU’s plans to establish the Office:
“ECRE would welcome the establishment of EASO, if it were well-resourced and founded strongly on principles of democratic accountability and transparency. To this end, it is important that UNHCR and other independent experts, including NGOs working in the refugee field, are regularly consulted and afforded extensive input into its work. ECRE also recommends a support office that is subject to democratic oversight by the European Parliament.”
ECRE’s comments may be found here (pdf).
Following the adoption of the EASO Regulation, UNHCR and ECRE jointly published a leaflet (or fact-sheet) on EASO as part of their leaflet series ‘Asylum in Europe - Now, it’s up to you’. Summarily, the EASO leaflet highlights that:
• The EASO should promote closer cooperation among Member States to help to achieve further harmonisation based on best practices and should ultimately lead to better and fairer asylum systems in the EU.
• The EASO could benefit from the expertise of the European Parliament, UNHCR, and civil society by working closely with them.
• The EASO can provide practical assistance to Member States which receive high numbers of asylum applications, to ensure they provide quality asylum and reception conditions.
- The EASO could coordinate exchanges of information and other actions with respect to resettlement of refugees from third countries to the European Union.