EASO – The European Asylum Support Office
The main task of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) based in Valletta, Malta, is to strengthen practical co-operation between EU Member States in the area of asylum. It is tasked with helping to implement a common European asylum system and with supporting Member States whose asylum system is under particularly heavy strain.
The Office does not have the power to exert any influence on the decisions made by national asylum authorities on applications for international protection.
Supporting practical co-operation
EASO's task is to make it easier to exchange information on asylum matters between the Member States. Collecting information about asylum seekers' countries of origin is co-ordinated using a common portal. This also includes analysing information centrally and producing reports about the findings acquired in this way.
An important task is supporting the Member States with regard to the resettlement of persons under international protection in the EU. The Office also provides training for employees from the Member States’ judicial and administrative authorities.
Supporting Member States that are placed under a particularly heavy strain
On account of their geographical location, individual Member States can be temporarily exposed to sudden mass influxes of persons requiring protection. EASO's task is to collect information about these difficult situations and to ascertain the reception capacity of individual States in order to be able to estimate the support needs for States affected in this way. There is a plan to devise an early warning system on this basis.
At the request of the overburdened states, EASO co-ordinates asylum support teams and other measures for the rapid analysis of asylum applications or the provision of the requisite reception capacities. Asylum support teams consist of experts from Member States who help the affected Member State on the ground, for example by organising interpreting services, passing on information about countries of origin or managing asylum procedures. The Member States have a national pool of experts in order to react in such situations rapidly.
Implementing the Common European Asylum System
EASO co-ordinates the exchange of information concerning the implementation of the Common European Asylum System at national level. To do this, EASO has set up a database in which it collects information about relevant issues and legal developments in the individual States. An annual report on the asylum situation in the European Union is drawn up in addition to guidelines and handbooks on the implementation of EU law in the area of asylum.
Structure of EASO
The administrative council is EASO's planning and monitoring committee. Each Member State sends a representative to this committee. The European Commission is represented by two members. The period of office for members is three years, a period that can be extended. The UNHCR is a permanent member without voting rights.
The administrative council appoints the executive director of EASO by means of a selection process. The executive director manages the Office and is its legal representative. His period of office is five years, which can be extended once by three years. Eight members are appointed from the Administrative Council as the Executive Committee, and this Committee advises the Executive Director.
The Office may set up working groups of specialists from the area of asylum. An advisory board is appointed to work with non-governmental organisations and institutions in the community. The Office of the UNHCR is a permanent member of the advisory board, which provides a platform for exchanging information, pooling knowledge and liaising on asylum-related matters.
The creation and the role of EASO was governed by Regulation (EU) no. 439/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 establishing a European Asylum Support Office.
The Office is financed from the European Union's overall budget and from voluntary contributions made by the Member States.