EASO preparing for transformation into European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA)

In its Communication of 6 April 2016 entitled "Towards a reform of the Common European Asylum System and enhancing legal avenues to Europe", the Commission set out its priorities for reforming the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), aimed at harmonising asylum standards in the European Union and speeding up procedures.

As part of this reform, which is a key part of the comprehensive migration strategy, the Commission presented seven legislative proposals on 4 May and 13 July 2016. These included the overhaul of the Dublin system, the conversation of the Qualification Directive and Asylum procedures Directive into Regulations, the recast of the Reception Conditions Directive and the Eurodac Regulation, a new Regulation for a Union Resettlement Framework, and the transformation of EASO into the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA), with increased competences.

Under its new mandate, the Agency will have the necessary tools to 1) provide operational and technical assistance to Member States; 2) facilitate and support the activities of Member States in the implementation of the CEAS, including by enabling convergence in the assessment of applications for international protection across the Union and by coordinating and strengthening practical cooperation and information exchange; and 3) contribute to ensuring the efficient and uniform application of the EU acquis in Member States. In particular, the Agency will improve the functioning of the CEAS through a monitoring mechanism and by assisting Member States when their asylum and reception systems are under disproportionate pressure.

As part of this transformation, by 2020, the Agency’s budget is expected to grow from €86.97 million in 2017 to over €114.10 million and the staff of the Agency to around 500.

Considering the extent of the proposed changes to its founding Regulation, the operationalisation of the new agency will be a gradual one spanning a number of months. Several preparatory measures are already underway, while others will be put in place upon entry into force of the new Regulation. Further measures will be implemented progressively over the months following entry into force. The actual date of adoption is yet unknown as it depends on the progress made during ongoing negotiations by co-legislators (Council of the EU and European Parliament).

In order to ensure a smooth transition, the Executive Director of EASO established an internal task force (EUAA Implementation Task Force - EITF) during the first half of 2017 on order to coordinate the preparations for the new mandate, as well as the review of existing activities that will need to be upgraded to meet the proposed new requirements. The EITF is also spearheading an internal information campaign to inform all staff of the upcoming changes to the Agency’s role and to engage in an exchange of views on how to operationalise the various new expected tasks in the most effective way possible.

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