European Union Establishes New Asylum Headquarters

European Union Establishes New Asylum Headquarters

The European Union Council approved the creation of a new EU Asylum Agency, the European Union's agency, on Thursday.

Ummatimes - The new EU asylum body will support member states in managing asylum applications after amending and overhauling the existing European Asylum Support Office.

"Having a full-fledged European Union (EU) asylum body is an important step in building an EU asylum policy with us," said Ales Hojs, Slovenia's interior minister who represented the EU Council's replacement president.

"This agency will be able to provide prompt and tangible support to member states wherever it is needed," he added.

The agency will assist member states by providing training and information exchange, as well as by dispatching personnel on request from a reserve of 500 experts, including interpreters, case handlers and reception specialists.

The EU asylum body will develop EU-wide standards for handling and deciding on asylum applications, and will also be responsible for monitoring the functioning of the national asylum system. The agency will also be tasked with assisting the resettlement of rejected applicants in non-EU countries.

Last September, the European Commission proposed a new agreement on migration and asylum, primarily focusing on repatriation, pre-entry checks and partnerships with third countries to prevent migration flows. The agency is one of the recommendations of a reform package based on a proposal from 2016.

The EU council's decision gave the final green light for the law after the European Parliament approved it last month, following a political agreement the two institutions reached in June. Last year, EU member states provided international protection to more than 280,000 people.