On 1st June this year the EU Commission published its revised set of proposals to amend the 2005 Council Directive 2005/85/EC on minimum standards for granting and withdrawing international protection status (Procedures Directive), as part of its efforts to finalise CEAS.
This post will not comment on the proposals as such, but will point out those instances where EASO has been included. As outlined in the proposals' objectives, "now that EASO has started its activities, a more specific role can be foreseen for it to support Member States in a more efficient implementation of common rules." And essentially the role foreseen for EASO in the proposals is of course the rationale for the Agency's creation: supporting and strengthening coordination amongst the EU MS for the more effective implementation of EU-wide common rules. We think it's pretty clear by now that anyone looking at EASO for anything more than this will be sorely let down.
The Commission's proposals include EASO as follows:
- a new recital (9) saying that EASO funds "should be mobilised to provide adequate support to the MS' efforts relating to the implementation of the standards set in the second phase of the CEAS, in particular to those MS which are faced with specific and disproportionate pressures on their asylum systems, due in particular to their geographical or demographic situation." We simply love this last phrase, evidently inserted to appease the concerns of the southern MS;
- a new Article 4(3), requiring MS asylum personnel to be appropriately trained and to receive follow-up training. The proposal states that MS "shall also take into account" EASO's work in this field, clearly referring to the Asylum Curriculum that is currently being handed over to EASO (see this post for the UK's response to this proposal);
- a new Article 6(3) requiring MS to "take into account" EASO guidelines on the procedure to follow immediately following a declaration by a person that he/she wishes to seek international protection. The proposal is that the person should be registered as an asylum-seekers within 72 hours of the declaration, and that authorities receiving these declarations should be appropriately trained;
- Amendment to Article 38 (renumbered to 45 in the proposals) on procedures to withdraw international protection, whereby during the course of the withdrawal examination the "competent authority is able to obtain precise and up-to-date information from various sources...the EASO...". Note that the requirement is not that such information is actually obtained, but that the asylum authority is 'able to obtain it'. Can this mean as little as having a functioning internet connection?