The European Commission just released its Third Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum. The communication itself can be found here, while the working paper accompanying the report can be located here. According to the Commission's press release, the report gives a snapshot of migration, asylum and free movement in the EU. Plenty of figures are presented...at times not in a very visual and reader friendly way!
Quite obviously, the European Asylum Support Office is included in the Communication. The most significant element is the following:
“EASO has been operational since mid-2011 and the office will present an activity report on its first year in June 2012. As well as its support to Greece, EASO's main commitment has been on recruitment, the setting up of the necessary structures in Malta and taking responsibility for practical cooperation measures, such as the European Asylum Curriculum.
Formal negotiations on the participation of associated countries, including Norway, to EASO are expected to be concluded during the first half of 2012. EASO should achieve independence by mid-2012, making full use of the practical cooperation measures and tools provided for in its founding Regulation. Likewise, Member States should also support EASO by making relevant experts and assets available on a structural basis, and not only in cases of particular pressure.” (Com(2012)250 p.15).
Generally the Communication underlines that the Commission expects EASO, together with other existing EU agencies (particularly Frontex and EUROPOL), to play a key role in reducing irregular migration and includes the Office as one of their 5 priorities in the roadmap identified on page 14.
It also briefly mentions EASO’s role in relation to unaccompanied minors and age assessment (p.16).
Recommended reading material for the weekend. If it’s a little too much just take a look at the press release – enjoy!