On 17th March the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on “German-Greek Partnership - Current State of Implementation and Future Perspectives”.
Of interest to us is the Joint Communiqué section that speaks of the German-Greek cooperation in the field of asylum (point 7). The section sheds a light on the ‘mysterious’ conversion of the Frontex RABIT operation into an EASO asylum support team on 24 February 2011, reported earlier on this blog. To be honest I am still slightly baffled at this conversion, also because I did not come across any formal announcement that gave details of the support team’s composition, duration, specific tasks, evaluation criteria, etc.
Back to the Joint Communiqué...it basically states that Germany is supporting Greece’s efforts at implementing its asylum action plans by, inter alia, sending an asylum expert to Greece as part of the EASO Operational Plan Team (OPT). Germany will furthermore “as far as possible provide staff for the expected missions of the asylum support teams.”
This somewhat clarifies the situation with the Frontex/EASO conversion. It looks like the current EASO intervention in Greece may not necessarily be a full asylum support team, but the Operational Plan Team established in terms of Article 18 of the establishing Regulation. This essentially states that the Executive Director and the MS requesting support shall jointly agree on the operational plan covering the planned deployment of the asylum support team.
I’ll try to seek clarification on what exactly is going on in Greece.