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State of the Union 2018: New EC proposal for a reinforced EU Asylum Agency

On 12 September 2018, on the occasion of his State of the Union Address, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, presented three new and ambitious proposals to ensure full EU solidarity on migration and better protection of Europe's external borders. Particularly, the amended proposal for the reinforcement of the EU Asylum Agency, aims to ensure that Member States can rely on full EU Operational Support at all times. 

The amended Commission’s proposal will further equip the future EU Asylum Agency with the necessary mandate, tools and financial means needed to provide a rapid and full service to Member States throughout the asylum procedure. The proposal includes:

  • Full operational support on asylum procedures: The Agency's asylum support teams will be available to provide the full range of support activities, including by carrying out the entire administrative stage of the asylum procedure;
  • Joint EU migration management teams will support Member States when needed and requested, including in hotspots and controlled centres. Composed of experts from the European Border and Coast Guard, the EU Agency for Asylum and Europol, the teams will be coordinated by the Commission. Under the authority of the host Member State, they will be able to carry out all tasks necessary to receive arrivals, distinguish between persons in need of protection and those not and carry out asylum and return procedures;
  • Increased financial means: To ensure the Agency can carry out its increased tasks, the Commission proposes a budget of €321 million for the period 2019-2020 and €1.25 billion for the period 2021-2027.

The reinforced Agency will be able to assist not only in times of increased migratory pressure, but at any point Member State may require it, throughout the asylum procedure as well as during procedures under the Dublin Regulation. Under the new proposal, the Agency's new tasks will include:

  • Greater technical and operational assistance which the Agency would be able to finance itself;  
  • Administrative support in carrying out the entire, or parts of the, administrative procedure for international protection as well as the procedure under the Dublin system. The Agency will also be able to offer assistance in the appeal stage, by providing legal research and analysis or producing reports at the request of courts or tribunals;
  • Deployment of Migration Management Support Teams, including in hotspots and controlled centres. The teams will include the Agency experts as well as staff from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Europol and other EU Agencies.

In addition, yesterday's proposal modifies the nomination process for the Deputy Executive Director of the Agency. 

The original proposal from May 2016 aims to transform the existing European Asylum Support Office into a fully-fledged European Union Agency for Asylum with an enhanced mandate and considerably expanded tasks. The Agency will be able to offer greater support to Member States in times of increased migratory pressure, including through a rapid deployment of asylum experts.

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