Friday, 20 July 2012

Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the EU

EASO has just published its first 'Annual report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union and on the Activities of the European Asylum Support Office.'

Article 12 of the Regulation states:

"The Support Office shall draw up an annual report on the situation of asylum in the Union, taking due account of information already available from other relevant sources.  As part of that report, the Support Office shall evaluate the results of activities carried out under this Regulation and make a comprehensive comparative analysis of them with the aim of improving the quality, consistency and effectiveness of the CEAS."

This first report covers 2011 and, according to the accompanying Press Release, explores a range of relevant issues such as judicial decisions, EASO relations with institutional partners, and EASO's activities throughout the year.

In our rush to disseminate this document on the EASO Monitor, we haven't yet had time to read through it.  What we can definitely say is that the anticipation for this report has been a strong one, since its very title seems to predict a truly comprehensive analysis and evaluation of where the EU stands today vis-√°-vis asylum.  We were expecting this report to provide information on the situation of the transposition of the Directives and, more importantly, on the quality of the implementation of these Directives.  

As also strongly argued during EASO's inaugural Consultative Forum (December 2011), civil society made it amply clear that for such a report to be truly analytical and accurate, it would necessarily have to draw on a variety of information sources: EU MS, NGOs, academia, etc.  

On our part (aditus foundation), as an active human rights NGO based in Malta, together with the Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta), we prepared and submitted our input with the hope that the hours spent collating data, discussing and drafting would contribute to the overall success of the report...not necessarily as a document shaming any MS but in terms of its objectivity in telling us all where CEAS' strengths and weaknesses lie.  

We were clearly told by EASO that civil society's input will be welcome and useful.   

Yet from what we know of the report's drafting process, and after a quick look at the report's contents, this doesn't seem to have been the adopted approach.  

As an example, the section on the Reception Directive is 1 page long and although reference is made to relevant UNHCR concerns, we feel there is so much more that needs to be said on the quality of reception conditions throughout the practices, concerns, etc.

But we won't pass judgement without first having read through the entire more later...

How will the EU MS react to the report?  Will civil society reject the report?  Will the report trigger a discussion where CEAS stands today and where it can possibly go tomorrow?

The press release and report can be downloaded here (.zip).

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