The Maltese Presidency of the EU Council has secured a broad political agreement with the European Parliament on an EU Regulation to establish the EU Agency for Asylum.

The agreement, on all 12 chapters of the proposal, means that once the final technical work is carried out, the European Asylum and Support Office (EASO) - based in Valletta - will develop into a fully-fledged agency which will be better-able to take actions to support EU states and facilitate the functioning of the Common European Asylum System.

The agency will build its current mandate in ensuring convergence in the assessment of applications for international protection across the Union and providing operational and technical assistance to the member states.

Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia said that over the past six months, the Maltese Presidency made the management of migration and asylum at an EU level a top priority of its work.

Within this context, the development of the CEAS has been of particular importance, with the establishment of the EU Agency for Asylum a cornerstone of this focus.

Work will now continue during the incoming Estonian Presidency to finalise the text, including on several outstanding technical issues which will be addressed in the context of negotiations on the recitals. The agreement will then be submitted to EU ambassadors for endorsement on behalf of the Council.