Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The 4th May Commission Communication & EASO

The Commission’s migration Communication of 4th May is the latest instalment in a series of statements, communications, programmes, instruments, etc., attempting to spell out the Commission’s views on migration and asylum. I won’t go into the details of the Communication here, since this is simply not the forum for that kind of analysis. I will however highlight the role the Commission envisages for EASO in the Communication.

Since the communication is not one primarily focused on asylum, but more on migration, it is not surprising to find only a few references to EASO: 2 in fact.

On page 5 the Communication starts speaking of how the EU is coping with the migration “crisis” generated by the North African conflicts. Interestingly, the Commission admits that “it must be recognised that the EU is not fully equipped to help those Member States most exposed to massive migratory movements” (page 6). In response, the Commission states that during 2011 proposals will be made to better deal with these, and future similar, situations. EASO is fleetingly mentioned, together with FRONTEX and joint operations, as one of the “structural means of ensuring solidarity” through the provision of financial, practical and technical assistance.

Further down in the document (page 14), the Commission reiterates the urgent need to finalise the work on the Common European Asylum System and together with providing an overview of the legal elements currently being work on, the Commission highlights the fact for a successful CEAS legislation should be accompanied by practical cooperation. EASO is mentioned as the primary tool through which such practical cooperation will be enhanced.

As a side note, it is important to note that the Communication only views the “crisis” from a governmental or at most inter-governmental perspective and the human component is quite absent. Whilst supporting the need for increased solidarity with those EU MS that are directly affected by the flows of persons, aditus firmly reiterates the need for the Commission to appreciate and refer to the manner in which the refugees are being treated at the EU’s southern border. 

Since the purpose of CEAS is to have a harmonised approach to the way the EU deals with persons fleeing persecution and war, and it is also the Commission’s role to oversee the implementation of the relevant instruments, the Commission and the EU MS called upon to offer solidarity with Malta should not ignore the extremely poor conditions in which refugees are detained and otherwise kept in Malta.

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