Malta, the outgoing EU presidency, has reached a broad political consensus on all 12 chapters of the European Union Agency for Asylum on the basis of the mandate given to Coreper, the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union, in December last year. The agreement still has to be endorsed by Coreper once more work on the recitals is done.
The main objective of a planned European Union Agency for Asylum is to improve the implementation and functioning of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) by drawing on the work of the current European Asylum Support Office (EASO). The new regulation will transform EASO into a fully-fledged agency in charge of facilitating the functioning of the European asylum policy, ensuring convergence in the assessment of applications for international protection of refugees across the Union and providing technical and operational assistance to member states.
The EU grants asylum to people fleeing persecution or serious harm in their own country, which are thus in need of international protection. Asylum is a fundamental right protected by the 1951 Geneva Convention on the protection of refugees. In the EU, an area of open borders and freedom of movement, countries have the same fundamental values and thus need to have a joint approach to guarantee top-notch standards of protection for refugees. However, the EU must make sure that the system is not only fair and in line with international law but at the same time also effective throughout the bloc. Asylum applications are still neither constant, nor evenly distributed across the EU.