ECS: crisis management and governance issues

International affairs, Public policy, Communications & Project Management issues from an innovative perspective

Last week the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), in cooperation with the European Commission, hosted the first meeting of its Resettlement and Humanitarian Admission Network in its headquarters in Malta. The network aims at supporting EU+ countries in their resettlement work and in their shared priorities in this area.

External dimension of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS).

In compliance with its mandate, EASO’s external action supports the external dimension of the CEAS and contributes to the external relations policy framework set at EU level - kindly see section 4 of the EASO External Cooperation Strategy. To this end, EASO aims at maintaining and reinforcing its engagement and cooperation with key priority third countries, namely:

- The Western Balkan countries
- Turkey and
- Middle East and North African (MENA) countries

Activities in these areas are implemented by EASO’s External Dimension Sector, which is made up of two main thematic areas:

1. Resettlement: support EU+ countries resettlement schemes, and
2. Third country support: the delivery of capacity building activities in Third Countries (TCs) in line with EASO’s geographic priorities.

In this field, EASO works both through its own annual funding and through the implementation of projects financed by external sources, for instance the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).

1. Support to Member States' resettlement efforts.

EASO supports the implementation of EU+ countries’ resettlement efforts in the framework of European resettlement schemes, in cooperation with the European Commission, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other relevant actors.

In Turkey, EASO works closely with the EU Delegation (EUD) and EU Member States (MS) to monitor resettlement operations from Turkey to the EU, support and advise Member States’ resettlement efforts in the Turkish context.

EASO launched a Pilot Project in April 2019 for a Resettlement Support Facility (RSF) in Istanbul, Turkey. For a period of 18 months, working with the project partner International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), EASO will be providing a one-stop-shop facility where selection and cultural orientation missions are organised as part of the MS resettlement process. The pilot project facilitates all the logistical aspects of the missions, and is expected to create added value in terms of enhancing operational coordination of MS resettlement operations from one dedicated facility, stimulating cooperation between MSs, supporting them in fulfilling their pledges, testing new practices for increased effectiveness of the process, increasing cost efficiency and testing a replicable model of EU cooperation in the field of resettlement.

2. Exchange of information and knowledge building on resettlement and complementary pathways.

EASO also provides a platform for exchange and discussion among Member States on resettlement and complementary pathways. The Agency also takes part in the global and regional fora related to these topics.

EASO supported the development of the training module on resettlement as part of the EASO training curriculum and the creation of joint tools for future resettlement operations of Member States, in the framework of the European Union action "Facilitating Resettlement and Refugee Admission through New Knowledge" (EU-FRANK project). The project is led by the Swedish Migration Agency and involves relevant institutions in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, as well as UNHCR, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and ICMC. EASO is expected to take over the project results.

EASO’s activities in the field of complementary pathways started in 2017 through a pilot project on Private Sponsorship Programmes (PSP), which involved interested Member States and relevant stakeholders. The pilot project complemented the European Commission’s study on the feasibility and added value of private sponsorship schemes as a possible pathway to safe channels for admission to the EU, including resettlement.