16 June 2021
The Council has agreed its position - published here - on the proposed Regulation on the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA), which would take the place of the European Asylum Support Office and have an extended remit and powers.
See the version ready for approval (previous versions below): NOTE from: General Secretariat of the Council to: Permanent Representatives Committee: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Union Agency for Asylum and repealing Regulation (EU) No 439/2010 (First reading) = Mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament (Council doc. 9724/21, LIMITE, 15 June 2021, pdf)
The agreement comes following the announcement by five southern EU states that they would cease blocking the adoption of the proposal - at least in part.
According to an Agence Europe report that cites a letter signed by those five states' interior and migration ministers (pdf):
"Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, Malta... say they are ready to adopt the operational and technical parts of this regulation as a sign of goodwill. They now expect similar gestures from other member states on the Pact, in particular on the issue of responsibility at the external borders. However, the five Mediterranean countries request that several articles of this regulation (13, 14 and 22) only enter into force once a global agreement on the Pact is reached. These articles concern notably the monitoring and evaluation mechanism and disproportionate pressure. These countries claim that these three more political articles are closely linked to the cross-cutting issue of fair sharing of responsibilities, which is not decided."
This is a marked change of approach from just a few weeks ago, when a Council progress report noted that the EUAA proposal was blocked "owing to the 'package approach'," through which "some Member states insist to consider all the legislative proposals to reform the European asylum and migration policy as a package."
The decision to accept parts of the EUAA Regulation follows a spat between northern Schengen states and Greece, with the former seeking improvements to the latter's asylum system so that they can resume deportations of asylum-seekers and refugees who have engaged in "secondary movements".
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