Published the regulation on the creation of Asylum Support Office

After several years working on this issue, EU launches Asylum Support Office to help harmonise procedures in all Member States

Spain's Minister of Home Affairs, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, signed the regulation creating the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) in Strasbourg (France), which aims to promote greater equality in the practical application of this right some weeks ago. The Official Journal of the European Union of May 29th. 2010 publishes this regulation.

The Office will help Member States' national asylum systems meet their commitments by reinforcing cooperation between them. It will also disseminate best practices, collaborate in implementing solidarity measures and contribute to convergence needed to establish a Common European Asylum System.

In addition to this regulation, a modification on to the decision establishing the Refugee Aid Fund, such that funds are transferred to this new office to enable it to carry it its functions, is still waiting for its publication.

The Office will have two basic functions. The first will be to help EU Member States facing extraordinary situations of mass asylum requests, by providing experts such as specialist interpreters.

Its other task will be to collect data from each country and from NGOs in order to distribute information on good practices.

The EU has had a directive on asylum since 2004, but its practical application has faced difficulties as extensive legal and practical differences persist between the EU-27. The Commission proposed the creation of this Office about one year ago.

The harmonisation of systems seeks to ensure that EU countries will offer similar conditions in receiving asylum seekers and studying their asylum applications, and to avoid the increasingly prevalent practice of people seeking asylum in countries where they know their applications will have a greater chance of being accepted. This creates an unfair situation both for EU countries bearing a greater burden and for asylum seekers.