The European Parliament has approved legislation to upgrade the Malta-based European Asylum Agency to support asylum systems in the member states.    

The parliament said the revamped agency will have enhanced operational and technical powers to facilitate cooperation among member states and contribute to converging asylum standards.

The new agency will provide operational and technical assistance to member states at their request. This will include, for example, helping to identify and register third-country nationals or by assisting national authorities to manage the international protection procedure - including in crises and relocation and resettlement situations - and more generally with the implementation of the Common European Asylum System.

It will also be tasked with developing operational standards, analysis and guidelines as well as training on asylum-related matters.

Fundamental Rights Officer

At the request of MEPs, the Agency will create a post for a Fundamental Rights Officer, who will be in charge of a newly established complaints mechanism. The Fundamental Rights Officer will be responsible for ensuring that the agency complies with fundamental rights in the course of its activities. They will more generally be responsible for promoting the respect of fundamental rights in EU asylum policy.

The agency will set up a reserve pool of at least 500 asylum experts from member states that can be swiftly deployed as members of asylum support teams alongside the agency’s experts, and provide on-the-ground operational assistance.

Monitoring the situation in member states

From the end of 2023, the agency will monitor how member states are applying various aspects of the EU’s common asylum system in order to identify possible shortcomings. This monitoring can include, for example, checking how the criteria to assess the need for protection and the type of protection granted to applicants are being applied, including the respect for fundamental rights, child protection safeguards, respect for procedural safeguards and the reception conditions. 

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