Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Cecilia Malmstrom on EASO's role in EU solidarity, & the Consultative Forum

Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom runs her own blog where she regularly comments (summarily) on issues relevant to her DG.  The blog is in Swedish, so rather difficult to follow for most of us, but luckily it's not too difficult to monitor her posts when they contain 'EASO'.  And of course EASO is extremely relevant to her DG.  Although the posts are succinct, they are nonetheless useful in obtaining a snapshot the Commissioner's approach of a variety of issues.

On 2nd December, the Commissioner posted an entry entitled 'More solidarity in asylum':

"Last year, South Africa alone received 180,000 asylum applications.  All 27 EU countries together received about 260,000 in the same year.  Although we hear much talk about solidarity in asylum matters, there is a lack of concrete measures.  We see this clearly when we look at how the reception of refugees in Europe is divided.  During the first half of this year 75% of all asylum applications in Europe were received in six countries: France, Germany, Belgium, Britain, Sweden and Italy.  This means that there are 21 EU countries that could take a lot more responsibility.

Home Affairs Commissioner
Cecilia Malmstrom
(photo taken from her blog)
Today I have therefore presented a proposal on how we can encourage more European countries to show solidarity.  These are intended to give Member States the opportunity to receive financial assistance for refugees but also to strengthen the Asylum Support Office (EASO), so they can assist countries with skilled personnel in the handling of refugee claims.  Through special funds available to support countries wishing to receive refugees, we hope that the relocation program from Malta to other EU countries can be made permanent.  We are now also negotiating the final parts of the common asylum and migration package, to be completed the next year.  When this will be in place, even those countries that currently lack a system for asylum reception would have to build one.  You can read more about the proposal I presented today."


On 14th December she posted a short paragraph on the Inaugural Consultative Forum, happening the following day, roughly translated as follows:

"EASO, which I opened this summer, is now well under way.  They play an important role in our collective support for Greece with several experts working under EASO management supporting the Greeks in their reform of the asylum system.  In order to involve civil society in EASO's work, tomorrow they will have an open consultation with invited organisations.  Representatives from UNHCR, IOM and others will speak, and this part will also be broadcast live on the web tomorrow half past nine."

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