The European Parliament, led by the S&D Group, has reached an agreement with EU governments to set up a fully-fledged European Asylum Agency.
For Elena Yoncheva, the S&D MEP leading the negotiations, today’s landmark agreement with Council is a positive sign that reform of the Common European Asylum System is possible and marks a first step towards meaningful solidarity, effective asylum procedures and stronger protection of fundamental rights. Under today’s agreement, the new Agency will help governments with the relocation and transfer of asylum-seekers in the EU. The new Agency will also play a crucial role in monitoring the EU’s common asylum system in practice, including preventing fundamental rights violations in member states’ asylum and reception systems.
Set up 10 years ago, the European Asylum Support Office has faced growing pressure and increasing expectations to support member states. Despite this, EU governments have consistently blocked any upgrade to EASO’s mandate.
Elena Yoncheva MEP, the European Parliament’s negotiator on the EASO Regulation, said:
“Today’s historic agreement to create a fully-fledged European Asylum Agency will make a real difference on the ground. With the deal, we are showing we can deliver genuine solidarity and practical support to EU governments on asylum procedures. An upgrade of EASO was long overdue, but at the end of the day the political will exists among EU governments for a functioning common asylum system in the EU. It is really important that we can focus on effective internal asylum policies and not just on the external borders perspective that has dominated the debate for too long. We intend to maximise the momentum from this deal and, in the same spirit of solidarity and shared responsibility, make headway on other proposals in the new Pact on migration and asylum as well. In the wake of increasing allegations of human-rights violations, for the S&D Group it is crucial that the European Asylum Agency has the tools to help protect the fundamental rights and dignity of people seeking protection in the EU.”
Birgit Sippel MEP, S&D spokesperson on justice and home affairs, said:
“We are happy to have achieved a good result on the European Asylum Agency at last. This is a much-needed upgrade that the S&D Group has always supported. Today’s agreement will be an important step in moving the entire package of interlinked asylum legislation forward and a sign that, despite some member states’ best efforts, agreement on asylum and migration policy is possible. In the meantime, the new mandate brings the Agency up-to-date, meaning it will be able to perform its required duties and help member states implement the existing asylum acquis.”