Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Maltese article on EASO's role in refugee integration(?)

On 21st July the Director Information of the Malta Nationalist Party, Dr. Frank Psaila, wrote an article in the Malta Sunday Times in praise of a Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta) project entitled 'Suspended Lives'.  The project is a documentary on the lives of a refugees and other migrants in Malta, based primarily on individual interviews and covering a range of integration-related topics such as employment and accommodation.

Writing on the project, Dr. Psaila comments on the need for increased integration in Maltese society.  He further states that "the setting up of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) in Malta should be praised as a further step in this direction.  True asylum-seekers and people who are recognised as refugees and in need of subsidiary or humanitarian protection need the support of this office."  

Whilst the points made by Dr. Psaila are valid and require proper attention, we find them rather ironic in a Maltese context that so far has done pretty little in terms of refugee integration but has instead chosen to focus all efforts on resettlement and intra-EU relocation of refugees.

In this respect, we strongly urge all EU MS not to view EASO as the solution to its asylum challenges.  EASO will not patrol the EU's borders, clean up filthy detention centres, decide who is or is not a 'genuine asylum-seeker', find jobs for refugees or integrate them into our societies.  These tasks are the primary responsibility of the MS, to be fulfilled in cooperation with other supporting stakeholders such as EASO, Frontex, FRA and also non-governmental organisations.

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