The Malta Independent 23 April 2024, Tuesday
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Civil Liberties Committee delegation concludes its visit to the EU Asylum Agency in Malta

Thursday, 22 June 2023, 10:08 Last update: about 11 months ago

The Civil Liberties Committee delegation has concluded its visit to the EU Asylum Agency in Malta.

During their two day visit to Malta, MEPs met with EU Asylum Agency representatives as well as the Maltese Armed Forces, Malta's International Protection Agency, and the UNHCR.

On Tuesday 20 June, the Civil Liberties Committee delegation met with Nina Gregori, Executive Director of the EUAA, and other senior officials, for an exchange on a range of issues, including the operational support to member states and on the monitoring mechanisms. Country of origin information and country guidance on main countries of origin prepared by the EU Asylum Agency to support national authorities in their examination of requests for international protection was extensively discussed as a basis for convergence in the Common European Asylum System.

MEPs also focused on the training activities provided by the agency to the national authorities, as well as judicial cooperation, its tools for the assessment of reception conditions, identification of vulnerabilities and situational awareness.

The delegation met with the recently-appointed Fundamental Rights Officer François Deleu who highlighted his role in the management of the complaints mechanism to be established under the EUAA regulation to ensure that fundamental rights are respected in all of the agency's activities.

On Wednesday, 21 June the Delegation met with representatives of Malta's Armed Forces, that carry out SAR missions, and Malta's International Protection Agency, and discussed Malta's cooperation with the EU Asylum Agency, with the current operational plan set to end in 2025.

In a meeting with the UNHCR Liaison and Country Officers in Malta MEPs heard about the close cooperation between the UNHCR and the EU Asylum Agency in country guidance aiming at harmonising standards in the treatment of asylum applications, and operational cooperation internationally.

After the visit Fabienne Keller (Renew, France), leading the delegation, said :

"The European Union Asylum Agency is implementing concrete projects under its new mandate to support member states in managing asylum applications within the EU. It coordinates and promotes the training of asylum officers from the member states, training more than 12 000 actors in asylum procedures in all the member states, and thus contributing to the improvement of the European management of asylum. The agency has a central role in developing the monitoring of the asylum process and in building an ever more converging European asylum process. The delegation has been particularly impressed by the Agency's reports on countries of origin. In particular the report on the persecution of Afghan women and girls is very important for all European caseworkers."

The delegation was composed of  Fabienne Keller (Renew, France), Head of the Delegation, Cyrus Engerer (S&D, Malta) and Patricia Chagnon (ID, France) and took place from 20 to 21 June in Valletta, Malta.

The regulation on the new EU Asylum Agency with enhanced operational and technical powers to facilitate cooperation among member states and contribute to converging asylum standards has been approved by the co-legislators at the end of 2021 and entered into force in January 2022.

The European parliament is currently engaged in negotiations with the Council on a number of files to reform the current asylum and migration legislative framework with a view to adopt new rules before European elections in June 2024.


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