Tuesday, 26 July 2011

For the UK EASO is not (only) about 'particular pressures'

We've regularly commented on our concern the EASO is essentially perceived as an EU agency created to support the southern EU MS owing to their perception of being overwhelmed by the 'relatively largest' numbers of asylum-seekers.  

So we're always interested to come across the perceptions other non-southern EU MS have of EASO.  We've already posted some information on the UK and how the UK government sees its relations with the Agency (click on the UK tag to the right), and here is another one.

In discussing the recent Commission Communication "A dialogue for migration, mobility and security with the southern Mediterranean countries", the European Scrutiny Committee of the UK House of Commons had the following to say on the Communication's references to EASO (see points 4.15, 4.16, 4.17):

"The Government is committed to working bilaterally, multilaterally and through the EU to help build border controls and protection capacity both in North Africa and within the EU, making best use of EU bodies such as FRONTEX and the European Asylum Support Office.

The Minister says that the UK is willing to assist the European Asylum Support Office through the deployment of asylum experts and case workers (and has already done so in Greece) but adds:

[W]e are opposed to the transfer of migrants to the EU from North Africa and to the relocation to other Member States of those migrants who reach the EU. We believe that building capacity in the region, and in adversely affected EU countries, to deal more effectively with migrants will create a more sustainable solution to this problem. We support the establishment of a Regional Protection Programme to create sustainable solutions for those in genuine need, as close to their region of origin as possible. In the long term, resettlement may form part of the strategic element of such a programme, but should not be used as a reflex reaction to an unfolding situation."

From these comments, it looks like the UK's perspective on EASO is more focused on the Agency's role in strengthening the asylum capacity of EU MS, counties of origin and countries of transit.  

Notably, the UK's adamant position against the intra-EU relocation of asylum-seekers arriving from north Africa must pose quite a problem for the southern EU MS, who are in fact insisting that such solidarity mechanisms should be made compulsory instead of the present model based on EU MS voluntariness.


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