The EU Agency for Asylum must coordinate information exchange among member states and ensure they protect fundamental rights, said Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Thursday.
The committee backed a proposal to strengthen the current European Asylum Support Office (EASO), which will become the EU Agency for Asylum, and provide it with the means to assist member states in crisis situations, but also to monitor how national authorities apply EU legislation.
The new Agency will assess all aspects of the common asylum policy, such as reception conditions, respect for procedural safeguards, the right to legal aid and access to interpretation, and adequacy of financial and human resources. To do so, it will be entitled to make unannounced on-site visits to EU countries.
It would rely on an “asylum intervention pool”, formed by no less than 500 experts contributed by member states, who could be deployed in cases where the asylum and reception systems of an EU country are subject to “disproportionate pressure”.
The Agency will also have a Fundamental Rights Officer, in charge of managing the newly-created complaint mechanism and monitoring and ensuring respect for fundamental rights in all the Agency’s activities.
The resolution, prepared by Peter Niedermüller (EPP, HU), was passed by 36 votes to nine, with 6 abstentions.
The committee also approved a negotiating mandate and team, by 46 votes to 4, with a view to reaching a first-reading deal with the Council on the legislation.