Monday, 21 October 2013

EASO September Newsletter and Work Programme, Relocation Forum, EP visit to EASO

September Newsletter

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) newsletter for September is out.


Editorial and in the news
EASO work programme 2014
COI Specialist network on Somalia
EASO’s visit to the Greek First Reception Centre
Emergency Support Exercise
EASO training
The Relocation Forum
Latest asylum trends
EASO cooperation with Courts and Tribunals
EASO-ECRE meeting
EASO notices, including vacancies

2014 Work Programme

And a few days after announcing it in the newsletter, EASO published its work programme for 2014 (read here the Press Release).

Although we didn’t have the time to read it until now, we can inform you that EASO has made it clear in the newsletter and in the press release that the main priority for 2014 will be to support Member States in the implementation of the recast asylum package.

Speaking of the implementation of the recast asylum package, we take this opportunity to inform you about the recent publication of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles’ (ECRE) ‘Information Note on the Qualification Directive’. The document raises some concerns over possible ways of implementing this Directive. Let’s hope EASO takes these concerns into consideration too (not to mention again the essential and continuous dialogue that should exist with civil society in this regard).


Relocation Forum

25 September was the date of the first annual Relocation Forum, organised by the European Commission.

Commissioner Malmström’s speech can be read in her blog.


The Commissioner Cecilia Malmström (Malta Independent)
Some of the Commissioner statements were brilliant!

She emphasised the importance of relocation as a tool of intra-EU solidarity. In one of her statements, she underlined that “it is worth remembering that it may be somebody else's crisis today, but tomorrow it could be yours”.

She further argued that Member States should not refuse solidarity with others on the basis of the pull factor argument, as there is no evidence that relocation constitutes a pull factor:

We have no desire to create pull factors and no desire for people to undertake unnecessarily hazardous journeys across the Sahara and the Mediterranean. But we should not refuse to show solidarity to another Member State because we decide that relocation creates a pull factor when we have no evidence to substantiate that claim”.

The Commissioner also emphasised that push-backs are illegal and that Member States must guarantee access to the asylum procedure and have a responsibility “to give decent conditions and to integrate people”. We were happy to read that the Commissioner has the same opinion as we do in this regard (see some of our previous posts on the subject - click here and here).

EASO was also among the participants (other participants were the EU Member States, the Schengen Associated States, the International Organisation for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and Dr. Rober K. Visser delivered a presentation too.

The Agency’s Director full speech doesn’t seem to be accessible anywhere, but the EASO September newsletter (see above) contains a summary of his intervention.

The EASO Executive Director advocated for a Common Relocation Approach, consisting of “common framework/characteristics, common funding (AMF), common information provided by EASO, common steps to take, and common tools developed by EASO” (p. 7 of the newsletter).


EP visit to EASO

At the end of this month, a European Parliament (EP) delegation will be visiting Malta to discuss irregular migration, reported the Malta Independent on Saturday the 12th of October.

On the same occasion, the delegation of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee of the EP will also be visiting EASO.

MEP Roberta Metsola, one of the delegation members, has mentioned that “[i]t is an excellent opportunity for us to show Members of the European Parliament, from across the political spectrum, just what the situation on the ground in Malta actually is and to again put across our point that the pressures faced by Malta due to irregular immigration can and should be eased by coherent, holistic European action”.

Roberta Metsola has been very active proposing “European action” that could show itself more effective from the perspective of the protection of the lives of migrants. She proposed, for instance, to give people the option to apply for asylum in Africa, in order to avoid taking the risk of sinking in the Mediterranean, and the need to change the Dublin system in such a way as to more efficiently share responsibility inside the EU.

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