"I am very happy to open the European Asylum Support Office. By dealing with practical and operational issues regarding asylum and migration, the Support Office offers valuable support to Member States by facilitating practical cooperation in all aspects of the assessment of asylum claims and in the reception of asylum seekers. It will provide support to Member States confronted with unexpected inflows of asylum seekers and to those which simply need to make their asylum system more fair and efficient. It is an indispensable instrument to help achieve a more comprehensive and protective Common European Asylum System. Practices for receiving asylum seekers still vary considerably from one EU country to the other and much more needs to be done to achieve a greater convergence of approaches. The Support office will have an important role in that", said Cecilia Malmström.
The inaugural event will take place on Sunday 19 June at the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta, in the presence of Commissioner Malmström, the Prime Minister of Malta, Lawrence Gonzi, and the Maltese Minister of Justice and Home Affairs, Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici. Representatives of the Hungarian and Polish Presidencies of the Council, MEPs, EU Ambassadors, and the deputy United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will also participate in the celebrations.
The EASO Management Board will meet on 20 and 21 June 2011 at which time the Executive Director, Rob Visser, will present the state of play of implementation of the Agency's work programme for 2011 and will also propose an outline for the 2012 work programme.
The European Commission has been providing vital support to the EASO, including by providing human resources, expertise, recruitment and logistical support, and will continue doing all it can to ensure that the Office can rapidly reach cruising speed.
Times of Malta - Interview with Commissioner at the Representation
The Malta Independent
Maltatoday - extensive article + photos