On 15th June the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) presented its 'Annual Report 2011' to the European Union Institutions.
The Report, entitled ‘Fundamental rights: challenges and achievements 2011’, deals with development in fundamental rights issues in the EU and its Member States for the year 2011.
It highlights the fact that the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) became fully operational on 19th June 2011 and refers to the Communication of the European Commission on intra-EU solidarity for asylum, to underline EASO’s important role in that field (see our earlier post for more on this Communication).
In its report, FRA also refers to the operating agreement between the Greek government and EASO enabling the deployment to Greece of the Agency's Asylum Support Teams.
Clearly, EASO has the potential to play a central role in ensuring the respect for fundamental rights throughout the EU.
Tasked with supporting the EU MS in their asylum activities, and bound by the Fundamental Rights Charter, such support should not only mean seeing that CEAS' fundamental rights elements are adequately implemented but also ensuring a horizontal mainstreaming of fundamental rights in all of its activities, operations and products.
This might sound obvious to most readers, as it should be, but as an NGO working closely with asylum-seekers in Malta and also liaising with several colleagues throughout the EU, we're not at all convinced that fundamental rights are necessarily at the heart of MS activities involving asylum-seekers and refugees.