- Fully-fledged totally independent EU agency
- Asylum intervention pool of 500 experts supplied by the Member States
- Fundamental Rights officer responsible for a new complaint mechanism
The new EU Asylum Agency will ensure that EU countries respect rules on asylum, following a deal with Council. It will also monitor respect of fundamental rights.
The informal, preliminary agreement reached on Wednesday covers all the main elements of the legislation, but inter-institutional talks will continue under the Estonian Presidency to finalise the text.
The proposal to strengthen the current EU Asylum Support Office (EASO), turning it into a new EU Agency for Asylum equipped with the means and resources to assist Member States in crisis situations and to monitor compliance with EU legislation, is linked to the wider review of the Common European Asylum System currently under way.
Monitoring the situation on the ground - intervention pool
MEPs ensured that the Agency will be in charge of regularly assessing all aspects of the common asylum policy, such as reception conditions, respect for procedural safeguards, the right to legal aid and access to interpretation, and whether financial and human resources are sufficient or not. It will also carry out “ad-hoc” monitoring checks when the situation in a specific country raises concerns.
A new “asylum intervention pool”, formed by 500 national experts, will be set up and at the immediate disposal of the Agency. They will be deployed in cases where the asylum and reception systems of an EU country are under “disproportionate pressure”.
The Agency will also have a Fundamental Rights Officer, in charge of managing the newly-created complaint mechanism and monitoring and ensuring respect for fundamental rights in all the Agency’s activities.
The Executive Director will be able to suspend or terminate the deployment of asylum support teams if a host Member State is found to be in serious breach of fundamental rights.
Péter Niedermüller (S&D, HU), Parliament’s rapporteur for the proposal, said: “Our aim was to turn EASO into a fully-fledged Union Agency working with the Member States, but independent from them. The Agency will act as a watchdog of CEAS, an essential element for the EP. Increasing the Agency’s operational and technical capacities to make it more responsive to the current challenges, and ensuring respect for fundamental rights was also crucial”.