Ahead of next week’s plenary debate in the European Parliament on the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA), MEPs from the S&D Group today visited the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) in Malta as part of a fact-finding mission. MEPs met with the Executive Director Nina Gregori to find out more about the current challenges facing EASO and discussed its transition to a European agency.
The delegation is also visiting reception centres in Malta run by the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers to see first-hand the conditions for migrants.
Elena Yoncheva, rapporteur on the European Asylum Agency, said:
“With the creation of a European Asylum Agency agreed, we are proving we can deliver genuine solidarity and practical support to EU governments when it comes to asylum procedures. Today’s fact-finding visit is an important opportunity to hear first-hand the pressures EASO has faced in recent years. We also want to hear about its transition to a European agency so that it has the tools to help protect the fundamental rights and dignity of people seeking protection in the EU. With only a few months before the mandate enters into force, we need to now focus on implementation. The EUAA has to play a leading role on the ground and we need to ensure that they are ready to make full use of the new provisions for more effective asylum management and stronger support for frontline Member States.”
Birgit Sippel, S&D spokesperson on home affairs, said:
“The agreement reached on the new agency is a positive sign that reform of the Common European Asylum System is possible and marks a first step towards real solidarity, more effective asylum procedures and stronger protection of fundamental rights. Among the main tasks of the new Agency, we managed to ensure that it will support the relocation, transfer and resettlement of applicants or beneficiaries of international protection in the EU. In light of the current situation in Afghanistan, we want to see the new agency up and running before the end of the year so we need a final plenary vote as soon as possible. In the wake of increasing allegations of human-rights violations, it is crucial that we have a new European Asylum Agency with the tools to help protect the fundamental rights and dignity of people seeking protection in the EU.”