European Asylum Support Office inaugurated, Malmström underlines need for common European asylum system

Wide divergences in how member states process claims for asylum must be significantly reduced, says EU Commissioner responsible for migration issues Cecilia Malmström.

European Commissioner for home affairs Cecilia Malmström today inaugurated the European Asylum Support office (EASO), a new European Union agency based in Malta.

The documents of establishment were signed by Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici, and the signing was presided over by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi.

In a brief press conference during which no questions by the media were allowed, Malmström described the event as an important milestone. "The European Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. Respecting and promoting the right to asylum is at the heart of the Union's efforts to build an area of freedom, security and justice," she said.

Malmström however pointed out that there are “wide divergences” in how each respective member state deals with and processes applications for international protection.

"The way asylum seekers and refugees are treated and their chances of obtaining protection can still differ – sometimes quite significantly – from one EU state to another. These disparities should be significantly reduced," she said.

To this end, she said the commission is working to complete a common European asylum system by 2012, the latest deadline determined for the system “and one that we should try and keep to.”

She said that the EASO would deliver “meaningful practical cooperation and mutual support between the member states” in applying the law and dealing with applications for asylum, which is central to a well-functioning European asylum system.

“The European Asylum Support Office, which we are inaugurating today, will help to put that cooperation on a firm and stable footing,” Malmström said.

Its main goal will be to support member states in their efforts to implement a more consistent and fair asylum policy, by identifying best practices, organising training at European level and improving access to accurate information on countries of origin.

Malmström also added that the EASO was conceived to play a crucial role in enhancing practical cooperation among all asylum authorities in Europe. "Asylum seekers must always be received with dignity. They must always be given the opportunity to explain their claim and have their protection needs assessed according to clear and objective criteria," the Commissioner said.

She also emphasised that asylum procedures must be “fast, fair and effective” and that member states require the tools to “deal efficiently with those who do not need international protection, so that the integrity of the asylum systems is preserved.”

"We must achieve an asylum system worthy of our European humanitarian traditions. The success of the Support Office will make a substantial contribution to the realisation of this vision."

During the same address, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said that government will provide EASO will full support in its efforts and noted how the office has already started its work by sending support teams to Greece.

In a brief address, Justice and Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici called for wider EU support and solidarity on immigration, pointing out that the objective of establishing a common European asylum policy depended on the solidarity and cooperation of the entire European Union.

EASO executive director Robert Visser also welcomed the establishment of the office as a “step towards EU cooperation” and emphasised that the office will be motivated by the European values of solidarity, cooperation, and support.

Commissioner Malmström arrived in Malta earlier on Sunday afternoon. She had talks with both Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Dr Mifsud Bonnici before the documents were signed during a special ceremony. The ceremony was followed by a reception held at the Upper Barrakka Gardens, where Gonzi, Mifsud Bonnici, Malmström, Visser, and chairman of EASO’s monitoring board Stephane Fratacci delivered speeches.

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Dear Louis Vella - people who flee from war are not illegal immigrants. There is no such thing as 'illegal immigrant' - though there is obnoxious comments.
The Swede Cecillia Malmstrom should do something to stop the influx of illegal immigrants from North Africa to southern Europe. This asylum office will work as a substation of UNHCR and will attract even more illegal immigrants to Malta. They all hope to go to Sweden but Sweden does not want them either. Those that manage to escape to Sweden are sent back to Malta. The Swede Cecilia Malmstrom will be judged by the measures she takes to stop the influx and by the number of illegal immigrants she takes to Sweden.
Din qiegheda tiprova tikompeti ma Jolina Jolie? Qisa tal-brigata tilbes.
Minthomx tarawa TINTEN din it Task Force Kif lil gurnalisti presenti ma HALLEWHOMX jghamlu mistoqsijiet sinjal li ghandhom IL FAHAM MIBLULghax kieku lil gurnalisti kienu IHALLUHOM jghamlu il mistoqsijiet Sabitek ghal TAHT SNIENA Dr Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici il kummissarja CECILIA MALSTROM
How about this as reported this evening Malmstrom? Le banche britanniche, tra cui Barclays e Standard Chartered , stanno fuggendo dalla zona euro per paura che un default della Grecia scateni una crisi simile a quella causata dal collasso di Lehman Brothers . Lo scrive oggi il "Sunday Telegraph". Secondo delle indiscrezioni raccolte dal quotidiano il settore bancario del Regno Unito avrebbe ridotto drasticamente l'ammontare dei prestiti non garantiti messi a disposizione delle banche della zona euro e potrebbe causare in questo modo un nuovo credit crunch nel sistema bancario europeo. Standard Chartered avrebbe ritirato negli ultimi mesi decine di miliardi di sterline dal mercato del credito interbancario della zona euro e ridotto la sua esposizione complessiva durante le recenti settimane di due terzi a causa dei crescenti timori sulle finanze delle altre banche europee. Anche Barclays avrebbe ridotto la sua esposizione negli ultimi mesi, i suoi dirigenti sarebbero sempre più preoccupati a causa della situazione delle banche che sono particolarmente esposte ai paesi che presentano una precaria condizione dei conti pubblici: Grecia, Irlanda, Spagna, Italia e Portogallo.
The only possible solution - scrap Dublin 2 treaty.
Who bloody cares!!!! just another excuse for the newspapers and cameras paid for by the tax payers.