Archive - Civil Society and the Consultative Forum

Consultative Forum Activities 

2021

In 2021, an ambitious programme of activities was implemented for the EASO Consultative Forum:

  • Information webinars
  • Workshops
  • CF thematic meeting
  • The annual CF Plenary meeting

Information webinars was a new activity launched in 2021. The main aim of these short sessions was to present recent tools, reports, and products as developed by the Consultative Forum. During May, the Consultative has successfully organised 2 information sessions on the Case-Law database attracting more than 55 participants.  More information on this webinar including the recording of one of the sessions can be found below. 

In 2021, the thematic meeting focused on training activities and was organised on 23 June. The Training and Professional Development Centre has been working on upgrading and restructuring its training offer, in line with European Sectorial Qualification Framework. As part of these efforts, a more structured consultation process with selected Consultative Forum Members was sought in order to enhance the Agency's training materials with their knowledge and expertise. 

Finally, the annual CF Plenary meeting was organised on 16 November in Malta in a hybrid format.  A survey was launched prior to the meeting, in order to consult civil society on both the format of the meeting and the topics to be addressed. The plenary meeting focused on the added value of the EUAA for the Common European Asylum System, with breakout sessions focusing on training, vulnerable applicants, and asylum processes.
 

Information Webinars

INFORMATION WEBINARS ON THE EASO CASE-LAW DATABASE 

Consultative forum 2021

On the 25th and 27th May, the Consultative Forum in collaboration with colleagues from the Information and Analysis Sector organised 2 information sessions on the Case-Law database. The Webinars provided a live demonstration of this online public platform developed by EASO which provides up-to date, accurate information on new case law related to the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and compiles relevant cases in the field of asylum issued by national and international courts. 

Participants were also shown how to navigate the database, enabling them to search for case law, identify relevant topics, Identify relevant publications and know how to register cases into the database.

More information can be found here Case Law Database. Please click here if you wish to subscribe to the EUAA Case-Law newsletter.

Meeting documents:

For any questions please write to: Consultative-Forum@euaa.europa.eu

Consultative Forum Thematic Meeting on Training

Consultative forum

On 23rd June 2021, the EASO Consultative Forum in collaboration with the Training and Professional Development Centre organised a thematic meeting on Training. EASO is currently in the process of restructuring and upgrading the training curriculum in line with the educational and occupational standards established by the European Sectorial Qualifications Framework for Asylum and Reception Officials (ESQF). The transition to the new system provides an opportunity to review and upgrade the content of the training modules, which is a process that EASO is involving the Forum in. The aim of the meeting was to explore if and how the Consultative Forum’s expertise could best be integrated into relevant EASO training materials. The online meeting was attended by more than 30 Civil Society Organisations.

The meeting kicked off with a keynote address by Ms Nina Gregori, EASO’s Executive Director who emphasised the importance of training as one of EASO’s priority areas and part of the Agency’s permanent support tools contributing significantly to the harmonisation of asylum practices. 

Ms Gregori explained that over the years, EASO has extended and diversified the training offered with more than 43,000 participants trained over the last ten years. Despite COVID-19, work continued and even intensified and EASO has now shifted all its training activities online, providing business continuity and helping Member States adjust to the new reality. Beyond training as permanent support tool, the curriculum is also extensively used in the context of EASO’s Operational Support as well as in the external dimension, providing a solid basis for EASO’s capacity-building activities in third countries. 

To conclude Ms Gregori referred to the continuous open dialogue that the Agency maintained with Civil Society on training and referred amongst others also to discussions held at the 10th Plenary meeting last October 2020 where the Forum had expressed interest to reinforce its engagement on EASO’s training.  

The meeting then continued with a presentation on the EASO Training Curriculum by the Head of Centre followed by a presentation on the New Governance of the Training Quality Assurance Framework.  Further presentations on the Training Curriculum and Module Development Process and the Consultation Project with the Consultative Forum on the selected Training Modules took place and were followed by a Q&A Session. 

During the closing remarks Rachelle Cortis, the Head of Centre reiterated that civil society is already involved in the development of training material through the work of the Reference Group.  Ms Cortis continued by stating that this will be maintained in the future, and that when relevant, EASO is open to explore additional channels for consultation with civil society referring to the process with selected members of the Consultative Forum by means of a call for expression of interest on four selected training modules. The CF members could express interest and if selected to take part in the consultation, they would then be consulted on the concerned module.  

Timeline of the next steps:

On 20 July, the EASO Consultative Forum launched the call for expression of interest on the four selected training modules.  Members of the Consultative Forum were invited to express interest provided they possess relevant expertise on the subjects of the modules which relate to the following topics:

A.  Assistance of asylum applicant’s adaptation to their social environment within and around the reception centre;  
B.  Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the asylum context; 
C.  Gender-based violence in asylum context; 
D.  Trafficking in Human Beings in the asylum context.          

Relevant CSO’s are being selected by EASO according to predefined criteria and will be invited to participate in the consultation. 

Meeting documents:

 

For any questions, please write to: Consultative-Forum@easo.europa.eu.

11th Edition of the EASO Consultative Forum hybrid Plenary meeting

This year’s Consultative Forum annual Plenary meeting focused on "What will the EUAA’s added value be for international protection". The co-legislators reached an agreement on the Draft Regulation transforming EASO into the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) with the new mandate which entered into force early in 2022. The meeting presented an opportunity to discuss the main changes that the EUAA would bring and included also forward-looking discussions on what the EUAA’s added-value would be for international protection. The event was organised in a hybrid format with around 50 civil society organisations attending in-person and more than 100 participants online. 

The meeting started with an opening statement by Nina Gregori, EASO’s Executive Director, which was then followed by presentations from EASO on the Asylum Situation and an update on EASO’s Operational Activities.  

The second segment of the morning agenda included a high-level panel debate with representatives from the European Commission, UNHCR, and ECRE. The panellists each highlighted different elements of the Agency’s extended mandate and explained how, in their opinion, these would contribute to bringing added-value to the field of international protection, including for example the Agency’s role related to early warning, contingency-planning and crisis response, quality decision-making, convergence, monitoring, the external dimension as well as fundamental rights protection including the role of the revised Consultative Forum. A rich and interactive Q&A session provided participants an opportunity to engage with the panellists directly.  

The afternoon was dedicated to the Consultative Forum and its contributions to EASO’s work. Parallel break-out sessions were organised on: training, vulnerable applicants and asylum processes which focused on providing more detailed information on EASO’s activities in these areas and during which participants explored how CSOs could further engage with the Agency on these topics. 
 

Meeting documents:

2020

2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges.  The COVID-19 pandemic dominated European citizen's lives and presented significant challenges to the economy, employment as well as to migration and asylum issues within the EU.  With a view of ensuring business continuity, the EUAA Consultative Forum quickly adapted to the new situation and adjusted its activities accordingly.  The following activities were organised via online platforms:

  • 10th edition of the annual online plenary meeting

    The 10th edition of the annual online plenary meeting, held in the mornings of 13 and 14 October of which the overall theme focused on the evolution of the Agency over the last ten years and perspectives for the future.  The meeting consisted of both plenary discussions on day 1 as well as interactive thematic parallel break-out sessions on day 2.  The event was attended by more than 200 participants in the plenary sessions and more than 100 participants who attended the different workshops. 

  • Thematic webinar on the impact of COVID-19 on asylum in the EU

    A thematic webinar on the impact of COVID-19 on asylum in the EU was organised on 23rd July. The webinar was actively followed by up to 100 participants including representatives from mostly NGOs as well as IGOs, academia, think tanks, Member States authorities, EU institutions and EUAA staff.  

CF members further provided 244 contributions in response to six electronic consultations.

The consultations concerned:

  • call for feedback on the 2018 EASO Annual Report on the situation of Asylum;
  • call for feedback on the EASO 2021 Work Programme;
  • call for input to the 2019 Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum;
  • call for feedback on the EASO Annual General Report 2019;
  • Survey on the CF Plenary Meeting 2020;
  • call for input of relevant publications for the early drafting phase of the AR 2020 

Numerous CSOs also directly took part in many different EUAA meetings and activities related to COI meetings and production of COI reports, development of practical tools, development and update of EUAA training modules, material and training sessions, as well as activities in the context of the Vulnerability Expert Network (VEN).

10th Edition of the EASO Consultative Forum online Plenary Meeting 

 

EASO organised the 10th edition of the Consultative Forum Plenary session as a virtual meeting in the mornings of 13 and 14 October.

The very first edition of the Consultative Forum was organised in 2011, the year that EASO became fully operational. Although expectations for the Agency were high, its resources were few, reflecting its stage of development as start-up agency. Ten years on, EASO has developed into a full-grown Agency and its role has adapted to the changing EU asylum and migration context and the growing needs of Member States. Over the years, the Agency has grown incrementally in some areas and exponentially in others, with its activities having expanded both in number as well as in scope. In the near future, EASO’s activities may experience another transformation following the Commission’s recent presentation of the Pact on Migration and Asylum and call on the co-legislators to proceed with finalizing the negotiations on the EUAA proposal. 

On the occasion of the 10th edition of the CF Plenary, and with discussions on the future of the Agency to be resumed, the main aim of the 10th Consultative Forum Plenary was to look back on EASO’s activities as well as to look forward to what is next for the CEAS as well as EASO’s/EUAA’s role therein. 

More specifically, the following thematic EASO activity areas were focused on in more detail during discussions: 

•    EASO’s operational support in Member States 
•    Training and Professional Development
•    Resettlement & complementary pathways 
•    Vulnerable groups 


Visual recordings of the opening statement, session 1 and 2 produced by Visuality


On day 2 of the meeting, participants were divided into three parallel workshops during which they discussed the following thematic activity areas in more details: i) training and professional development; ii) resettlement and humanitarian admission, as well as; iii) vulnerable groups. The parallel workshops were followed by a plenary discussion in which the main outcomes of the workshops were presented and discussed.

Meeting documents:

•    Final Agenda 
•    Background note 
•    Information Pack 
•    Bios of Speakers 
•    Discussion Papers on Workshop 1, Workshop 2 and Workshop 3

 

Impact of Covid-19 on asylum in the EU – Thematic Webinar organised by the EASO Consultative Forum

Consultative forum 2020

On 23 July 2020, EASO hosted it’s first Consultative Forum thematic webinar on the impact of COVID-19 on asylum in the EU. The webinar which was followed by not less that 90 participants, was open to relevant civil society organisations, IGOs, academia, think tanks, representatives from Member State authorities, EU institutions and EASO staff.  
The webinar was divided into three main sessions:

  • Session 1 focused on the impact of COVID-19 on EASO’s activities as well as Member States’ asylum and reception systems;
  • Session 2 discussed the impact of COVID-19 on civil society organisations, and;
  • Session 3 focused discussions on ”What is next?” in terms of anticipated and emerging asylum trends as well as future developments of the CEAS.

During the first session, EASO provided an overview of how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted on EASO’s main activities, whilst also explaining the specific support that EASO has been providing to Member States tailored to help them respond to the Covid challenges. Furthermore, more detailed information was provided on measures taken by Member States in their asylum and reception systems in response to COVID-19, based on two reports published by EASO (Issue 1 June 2 and Issue 2 July 15).

During Session 2, the floor was given to Civil Society Organisations including ECRE, the Portuguese Refugee Council, Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen and the Swedish Red Cross. They presented and discussed about the challenges that the pandemic brought to their work, including good practices in responding to these.  

During the last session EASO, the Commission and UNHCR discussed what is next, in terms of anticipated and emerging asylum trends and how to respond to these, as well as further developments of the CEAS in the wake of Covid-19.  

The following main points emerged from discussions throughout the meeting: 

  • The pandemic has forced a rethink of the traditional functioning of EU+ countries’ asylum and reception systems. Physical distancing measures, including the inability to carry out tasks requiring face-to-face contacts, initially made it difficult for asylum authorities to perform certain steps in the asylum procedure. Member States consequently resorted to e-solutions (such as electronic tools and portals for lodging asylum applications, e-services for information provision, remote interviewing, and digital case-management) as a means to resume asylum procedures. Although these new tools and procedures were meant as short-term emergency solutions, they now appear to be emerging as part of the ”new normal” with likely long-lasting effects on the CEAS. 
  • Similar to Member States, many CSOs have equally resorted to e-solutions to be able to continue to implement their activities and provide support to asylum seekers. Examples included e-counselling meetings, provision of information through digital tools and the creation of digital platforms and hotlines. 
  • The trend of digitalisation in the field of asylum presents opportunities as well as new challenges. CSOs emphasised certain gaps in the implementation of new tools/procedures which have challenged asylum seekers’ access to effective and fair procedures. They stressed the need to further look into some of the new tools and procedures and called upon Member States to implement practices in line with the EU legal framework. 

As to what is next, participants agreed that the asylum situation in the EU remains volatile with possible increased migratory pressure following the Covid-19 pandemic. A comprehensive EU approach to migration and asylum is urgently needed – one which should be efficient and crisis resilient but also characterised by more intra-EU solidarity, including solidarity towards asylum seekers and refugees. 

Meeting documents:

For any questions, please write to: Consultative-Forum@easo.europa.eu.

2019
 

EASO organised the 9th edition of its Consultative Forum Plenary Meeting, entitled “Initial steps in the asylum procedure”, on the 12th of November 2019 in Brussels. See below.

EASO Consultative Forum Thematic Meeting on gender-related persecution

On 11th July, EASO organised a Consultative Forum Thematic Meeting on gender-related persecution. The meeting gathered around 35 specialised civil society organisations (CSOs). The overall aim of the meeting was to: explore how CSOs support persons in the EU+ Member States’ asylum and reception systems who experienced gender-related persecution; identify the main challenges and good practices, and; discuss if and how EASO could integrate civil society’s expertise in possible future work on this topic, see below.

For any questions, please write to: Consultative-Forum@easo.europa.eu.

9th EASO Consultative Forum Plenary Meeting - Brussels, 12th November 2019

Consultative forum

EASO organised the 9th edition of its Consultative Forum Plenary Meeting, entitled "Initial steps in the asylum procedure", on the 12th of November 2019 in Brussels

The 2018 EASO Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the EU+ signaled a trend of EU Member States introducing a number of changes in the initial steps of the asylum procedure to obtain as much information as possible from applicants at an early stage, aiming to ensure that applications are processed swiftly, comprehensively and in an informed manner. This year’s plenary meeting aimed to explore the following key questions:

  • What are some of the new measures and tools that are being introduced by Member States to streamline the initial phase of the asylum procedure?
  • What impact do such new measures and tools have on applicants for international protection?
  • What role do civil society organisations play in guaranteeing effective access to procedural safeguards during the initial steps of the asylum procedure?
  • How is EASO involved in the initial steps of the procedure, and how can EASO and civil society organisations improve cooperation during the initial steps of the asylum procedure?

Meeting documents:

EASO Consultative Forum organises a thematic meeting on gender-related persecution in Brussels on 11 July 2019

EASO continues to engage in a two-way dialogue with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) through the organisation of Consultative Forum (CF) meetings, electronic consultations on key EASO documents, as well as direct participation of specialised CSOs in various areas of EASO’s work.  

Thematic consultation with CSOs are organised in addition to the annual Plenary Meeting with a view of rendering the CF more effective. This year, EASO launched a survey with civil society to collect input on the desired theme and format for the 2019 CF meetings for both the Thematic and Plenary CF meetings). A total of 84 replies were received and the results indicated that respondents favoured the theme of vulnerable groups for the thematic meeting. After internal consultations, it was proposed to organise a thematic meeting on gender-related persecution. The event took place on the 11th of July in Brussels.

The overall aim of the meeting was to explore how CSOs support persons in EU+ Member States' asylum and reception systems who experienced gender-based persecution, identify the main challenges and good practices, and discuss if and how EASO could integrate civil society's expertise in possible future work on this topic. The meeting involved more than 35 specialised CSOs with relevant experience and expertise to contribute to the topics.

EASO consulted relevant CSOs and International Organisations (IOs) to identify key issues that require further attention and space for discussion. As a result, four main topics were addressed in detail during thematic breakout sessions, including:

  • Women and girls in the EU asylum systems
  • Mitigating the risks of gender based violence in reception facilities
  • Harmful traditional practices as ground for asylum
  • Reception conditions for LGBTI applicants 

The meeting consisted of mixed participatory methods with plenary sessions as well as interactive thematic breakout sessions. The breakout sessions were facilitated by representatives of CSOs with the support of EASO, in order to give the lead and the floor to CSO participants. During these sessions, participants formulated and agreed upon recommendations to be addressed to civil society counterparts, national authorities and EASO.

2018

Highlights of Consultative Forum activities in 2018

  • Three Consultative Forum meetings: a thematic meeting on 28th March in Malta concerning the provision of information to applicants for international protection; an informal Consultative Forum Planning Meeting in Brussels on 18th June where participants continued discussions on the provision of information and also contributed their ideas for the Plenary, and the 8th Annual Plenary Meeting on reception which took place on 5th December in Brussels.
  • Six electronic consultations with carried out with more than 121 contributions received. The consultations concerned the Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in 2017, the draft Work Programme 2019, the Annual General Report 2017 as well as the draft EASO judicial analysis on detention of applicants for international protection in the context of the Common European Asylum System. In addition, to inform about its research activities, EASO asked civil society for input on the situation of applicants from Bangladesh in the EU+ via an online survey. Finally an open survey on CSOs’ information activities fed into the CF thematic meeting on access to information as well as the resulting Briefing Paper. 
  • Briefing Paper on the provision of information including a cross sectional analysis of asylum-related information activities implemented by civil society organisations, focusing in particular on those catering to information needs of applicants for international protection. This Briefing Paper was a concrete output following the thematic meeting and the survey on the provision of information.
  • Numerous CSOs directly took part in many different EASO meetings and activities related to EASO operations, COI meetings, development of practical tools, training modules, material and training sessions, as well as activities in the context of the Vulnerability Expert Network (VEN).

8th EASO Consultative Forum Plenary Meeting

 

Consultative forum 2018

The 8th EASO Consultative Forum Plenary Meeting took place in Brussels on the 5th December from 08:30 to 17:30 hrs. at The Blue Point (80 Bd A. Reyers Ln, 1210 Brussels, Belgium).

The meeting was organised in the context of EASO’s Consultative Forum, a platform aiming to pool knowledge and to exchange information between EASO and civil society.

This year’s meeting focused on reception. To this end, a panel composed of key actors working in the field of asylum discussed how to create a reception system able to effectively and efficiently respond to changing inflows. The afternoon session hosted parallel workshops co-led by EASO and civil society representatives. These workshops tackled individual topics, on provision of information to applicants for international protection in the context of reception, reception of children, emergency reception provision, coordination between different stakeholders involved in reception - more specifically on how to structurally embed civil society in Member States’ reception systems - and reception and society. A follow-up session addressed the key messages from these workshops, followed by a closing panel debate.

Videos

8th EASO Consultative Forum Plenary Meeting - Register now

#EASOCF Plenary Meeting in Brussels kicks off

Panel debate with Stephen Ryan, Deputy Head of Asylum Unit at the European Commission, Mirjam Schuit, Head of Staff at COA, and Hanne Beirens, Acting Director of the Migration Policy Institute Europe

Panel debate on future perspectives for reception with EASO's Executive Director a.i. Jamil Addou, Catherine Woollard, Secretary General from the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), Shannon Pfohman, Policy and Advocacy Director at Caritas Europa and Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, Regional Representative for EU Affairs at UNHCR

8th EASO Consultative Forum Plenary Meeting - Workshops

EASO Thematic Consultative Forum Meeting on “Access to Information: Exploring Existing Resources, Good Practices, and Ways Forward”, 28 March 2018, Malta

On 28th March 2018, EASO organised a Consultative Forum Thematic Meeting on “Access to Information: Exploring Existing Resources, Good Practices, and Ways Forward”. More than thirty specialised civil society actors exchanged information on tools and activities developed by civil society organisations that aim at catering to the asylum-related information needs of individuals seeking international protection. The meeting offered an opportunity to map existing information resources and activities, review challenges and innovative solutions, and identify suggestions with a view of increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the provision of information in the future. 

Download Briefing Paper

The discussions and the outcomes of the meeting fed into EASO’s work by informing a section of the 2017 Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the EU. Moreover, participants also agreed to develop a Briefing Paper on access to information which would summarise both the results of the online questionnaire that was administered by EASO on the topic prior to the meeting (with 50 completed responses) as well as the discussions at the meeting. 

Given the high interest by civil society in the subject matter, participants further encouraged EASO to organise a follow-up meeting, which, in its next edition, could focus on reviewing in particular the impact and effectiveness of information activities by a.o. reviewing any relevant experiences that CSOs may have with regard to monitoring and evaluation. Follow-up discussions are planned to take place at the CF Informal side meeting following the launch of the Annual Report on 18th June in Brussels as well as the CF Annual Plenary Meeting which is scheduled to take place in the beginning of November this year. 

Meeting documents:

2017
 

The annual EASO Consultative Forum Plenary Meeting was held in Brussels on 17th November 2017. Although EASO regularly consults the Forum members throughout the year, the Plenary Meeting has become an important EASO event, attracting hundreds of participants. The main aim of the Plenary Meeting was to take stock of developments in the field of asylum as well as to review cooperation between EASO and civil society. See below.

Regional Thematic Meeting: "EASO Operations: Lessons Learned and Future Perspective"

In the context of its Consultative Forum activities, EASO organised a Regional Thematic Meeting in Trapani, Italy on 29 September 2017. The meeting, which was dedicated to EASO Operations and future perspectives brought together representatives of EASO, the EU Institutions, members of the Consultative Forum and local NGOs operating on the ground in order to provide information on EASO's operational activities, review the implementation of relocation and the hotspot approach in Italy, identify what has worked well and what can be improved, discuss the future development of EASO support activities in Italy. See below.

Consultative Forum Plenary 2017

EASO 7th Consultative Forum Plenary, 17 November 2017, Brussels

The annual EASO Consultative Forum Plenary Meeting was held in Brussels on 17th November 2017. Although EASO regularly consults the Forum members throughout the year, the Plenary Meeting has become an important EASO event, attracting hundreds of participants. The main aim of the Plenary Meeting was to take stock of developments in the field of asylum as well as to review cooperation between EASO and civil society.  
 

consultative forum 2017

The 7th edition of the CF Plenary Meeting focused on EASO’s operational activities to frontline Member States and improved cooperation with civil society under the EUAA.

Main questions for discussion included:

  • After a challenging two years, is the CEAS now in better shape?
  • How has the influx in 2015-2016 impacted frontline Member States?
  • What has the EU collectively and EASO in particular done to assist frontline Member States?
  • How do stakeholders assess these interventions? What has been the impact on asylum seekers/refugees?  What have we learned from our responses?
  • What is the role of civil society organisations in assisting in this context and how can we better coordinate responses? How has EASO cooperated with civil society so far?
  • What will the EU Asylum Agency (EUAA) bring? What will be the role for the EUAA under the revised asylum acquis?
  • What changes will the EUAA bring with regard to cooperation with civil society?
  • How can EASO better cooperate with civil society to facilitate the implementation of the CEAS?
    - What should be the general and specific objectives of the Consultative Forum under the EUAA? What should be the desired outcomes in five years?
    - Accordingly, what new role, format and organisational structure for the CF under the EUAA? What concrete activities do we focus on next year?

The meeting was based on mixed participatory methods and brought together more than 200 representatives from civil society, international organisations, EU institutions, Member States’ asylum authorities, local municipalities as well as individuals working in the field of asylum at local, regional, national and international level. 

See meeting documents 

Background

The EASO Consultative Forum is a platform aiming to pool knowledge and to exchange information between EASO and civil society. EASO is committed to establishing a real and genuine dialogue with civil society as we strongly believe that the exchange of ideas can be of mutual benefit to both. Cooperation with civil society is mainstreamed throughout all EASO’s activities and takes place on a continuous basis throughout the year. Examples of activities include Consultative Forum Meetings, electronic consultations on key EASO documents as well as the direct involvement of civil society in various areas of EASO’s work, through e.g. meetings, conferences, workshops, practical cooperation activities and informal consultations.

Regional thematic Meeting in Trapani

Regional Thematic Meeting:"EASO Operations: Lessons Learned and Future Perspective"

Consultative Forum

 

In the context of its Consultative Forum activities, EASO organised a Regional Thematic Meeting in Trapani, Italy on 29 September 2017. The meeting, which was dedicated to EASO Operations and future perspectives brought together representatives of EASO, the EU Institutions, members of the Consultative Forum and local NGOs operating on the ground in order to: 

  • Provide information on EASO's operational activities
  • Review the implementation of relocation and the hotspot approach in Italy
  • Identify what has worked well and what can be improved
  • Discuss the future development of EASO support activities in Italy

More than 50 participants representing local NGOs and EU civil society organisations had the opportunity to be informed about EASO’s operational activities in Italy, to identify challenges and best practices on relocation and the hotspot approach, as well as to share best-practices on how cooperation of all actors on the ground can be more effective and sustainable. A wealth of information was shared during the meeting on how Civil Society can further support Italy and EASO operational activities.

Discussions will also feed into the Consultative Forum Plenary meeting of 17 November 2017 in Brussels.

Meeting documents:

Background:

The Consultative Form was established in 2011 during EASO’s first year of operation. The overall objective of the Consultative Forum is to establish a close dialogue between EASO and civil society. To that purpose, the Consultative Forum was established as a mechanism for the exchange of information and pooling of knowledge. EASO engages in a two-way dialogue with civil society organisations, through the organisation of various activities, including e.g. Consultative Forum meetings, electronic consultations on key EASO documents and direct involvement of civil society in various areas of EASO’s work. In response to increased demand by Consultative Forum members, one of the current main priorities for the Consultative Forum is to improve cooperation between EASO and civil society in the context of its operational activities. The aim is to “bring the Consultative Forum in the field” and to exchange information with local NGOs on the practical implementation of EASO support activities.

2016

6th EASO Consultative Forum Plenary Meeting, Athens 28-29 November 2016

On 28-29 November 2016, the EASO Consultative Forum held its 6th plenary meeting in Athens, attracting over 200 members from civil society organisations.

Consultative Forum 2016

EASO attaches great importance to maintaining a close dialogue with civil society. Many different organisations operate in the field of asylum and their respective expertise, experience and insight is of much added-value to the Agency’s work. The Consultative Forum was set up as a mechanism to enhance the exchange and sharing of knowledge between EASO and relevant stakeholders from civil society. Although various different consultations take place throughout the year, the plenary meeting remains its most important event, as evidenced by the record number of over 200 participants who attended the 6th edition.

The 6th plenary meeting focused in particular on ideas and experiences related to EASO’s work on relocation and the hotspots. As such, the plenary meeting was, for the first time, held in Athens in order to facilitate participation of practitioners operating in the field of asylum and reception in Greece. New in this edition was also the adoption of a fully participatory format, which stimulated participants’ proactive engagement and resulted in real authentic dialogue.

As to the structure, a high-level panel opened the event, outlining the developments and changes that had taken place in the European asylum framework in 2016. Three thematic workshops and an open agenda session followed where participants could present and discuss topics they prioritised. Main discussions included relocation, the hotspot approach, EASO’s activities related to communication, information and analysis, needs of vulnerable groups (including gender issues), integration, the external dimension and fundamental rights. As side events, a marketplace area was made available where organisations could display their material. Furthermore, a play created by fifteen Afghan women refugees was screened followed by a debate with two refugee women who participated in the play. A professional graphic recording visualised the key outputs from the event as illustrated in the picture above.

See 6th EASO Consultative Forum Plenary Report [EN]
See Press Release [EN]

Meeting Documents: Draft Agenda [EN] Consultative Forum Info Note [EN] Venue Info [EN] Background documents [EN] Programme Brochure [EN]

Synergies with civil society in the relocation process: the experience of Portugal

Consultative Forum 2016

 

In the context of EASO Consultative Forum activities, 59 participants from the institutions and Civil Society attended the meeting which was hosted in the Ministry of Internal Administration in Lisbon.The meeting was opened by the Minister Urbano de Sousa and Minister Assistant Cabrita. Relocated applicants shared their experience as well as civil society actors involved in reception and integration. Portuguese Greek and Italian asylum authorities, EASO, UNHCR and IOM discussed the progress in the relocation process and their respective roles. EASO stressed the importance to build synergies with civil society and to create venue like this meeting to promote dialogue.

See Meeting Agenda [EN] Presentation EASO [EN] Presentation ACM [EN] Presentation SEF [EN] Presentation Jesuit Refugee Council [EN] Presentation Red Cross Portugal [EN] Presentation Municipality of Lisbon [PT] IOM Presentation [EN]

EASO meets civil society in Sicily 15-16 March 2016

Consultative Forum 2016 Sicily

In the context of EASO Consultative Forum activities, EASO invited civil society organizations and NGOs operating in Italy in the field of asylum and reception to attend the first information meetings in Italy on 15 and 16 March in Trapani and Catania.

The meetings, organized in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Interior and the European Commission, aimed at sharing information on the relocation process and hotspots, discussing with the civil society actors operating on the ground best practices and challenges in order to foster synergies and dialogue. 43 participants attended the two meetings in Trapani and Catania, representatives of a diversified group of civil society organization spanning from associations and cooperatives managing reception centres, lawyers associations, local municipalities and larger NGOs as well as UNHCR and IOM. Participants expressed high interest in the content covered by the meeting, appreciated the information material provided and expressed interest in getting further involved in similar meetings and other initiatives.

AGENDA PPT

Consultative Forum Plenary 2016 - Action Plan

The main aims of the 6th Consultative Forum plenary meeting included:

  • Taking stock of relevant developments in the field of asylum in 2016;
  • Identifying constraints and challenges in the development of the CEAS;
  • Seeking solutions to constraints and challenges, in particular by providing suggestions for action by EASO within the remit of its mandate.

In order to answer to the latter aim, EASO has drafted an Action Plan following the completion of the 6th EASO Consultative Forum, which sets out specific actions to be implemented by EASO as identified by participants during the forum. The codification of these actions in this plan reinforces EASO’s commitment to implement these, ensuring appropriate follow-up with a view to increase transparency and accountability.

The specific actions are set out in the Action Plan which can be consulted here.

Consultative Forum Plenary 2016- Documents

  • Meeting Report [EN]
  • Draft Agenda [EN]
  • Programme Brochure [EN]
  • Consultative Forum Info Note [EN]
  • Venue Info [EN]
2015
consultative forum 2015

On 30 November EASO held its annual Consultative Forum Meeting, bringing together organizations, academics and experts to discuss the Common European Asylum system and EASO work and activities, in particular those activities related to EASO’s work in the hotspots in Italy and Greece.

EASO attaches great importance to consulting and exchanging views with civil society. In this perspective, this year’s Forum represented a great opportunity for EASO to carry out a fruitful dialogue with key organizations and other interested stakeholders, united in the common effort of improving the way we deal with the reality on the ground. As a European centre of expertise, consultation for EASO is not just an annual meeting but a very effective way to share knowledge and expertise on the many aspects of asylum. Over the past five years, this consultative process provided EASO with additional insight and information which have proven vital to develop more advanced cooperation tools aimed at supporting the implementation the Common European Asylum System.

See Press Release [EN]

See 2015 Consultative Forum Report [EN]

2014

11 December 2014

In his opening remarks, Mark Camilleri, EASO Policy and Interinstitutional Relations Coordinator stated that following several requests by representatives of civil society, EASO decided to hold the meeting in Brussels this year.  Even though the two way dialogue with the civil society is a constant process promoted by EASO alongside its activities during the whole year, the aim of a plenary session is to bring together the EASO Consultative Forum members to look at the experience of the past year of working together, identify lessons learned and earmark areas of future cooperation. He added that over 100 participants registered for this year's meeting representing around 60 different organisations.  Besides the usual focused discussions on the involvement of civil society in the different areas of EASO’s work, this year’s meeting included a full day thematic conference with over 20 speakers focusing on contingency planning, Member State responses to the flow of Eritrean asylum seekers, different protection statuses granted to Syrian applicants and the use of Article 15 of the Qualification Directive (on qualification for subsidiary protection).

Presentation of latest asylum trends and responses

Click here for presentation

Timothy Cooper, Head of the EASO Centre for Information, Documentation and Analysis (CIDA), provided information on the latest trends of applicants for international protection, including figures on the top countries of origin, the distribution of applicants among the EU+ countries, the recognition rates and relevant statistics on unaccompanied minors and pending cases.

  • Round table 1: Early warning and preparedness in view of the Ukraine and other crises – Planning and cooperation to strengthen EU and MS responses

    Click here for concept paperlead off presentation and report.

    The discussion was moderated by Mr. Laurent Muschel, Director Asylum and Migration, DG Home. Speakers were Ms Elizabeth Collett, Director of MPI Europe, Mr. Tomasz Dzięcioł, Chief Specialist, Office for Foreigners, Poland and Mr. Christer Zettergren, Swedish Migration Board. A lead off presentation was delivered by Mr. David Dowey, EASO Senior Data and Analysis Coordinator.

    The panel focused on how early warning systems have helped Member States to be better prepared for influxes of persons seeking international protection and how EU and MS-level planning and cooperation has helped strengthen Member States response to such situations.

  • Round table 2: Influx of Eritrean asylum seekers: EU and MS practical responses

    Click here for concept paperlead off presentation and report.

    The discussion was moderated by Francesco Maiani, Associate Professor, IDHEAP. Speakers were Ms. Eva Singer, Danish Refugee Council, Mr. Mohammed Fitwi, Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers, and Mr. Paulus Bouma, Immigration and Naturalisation Service, The Netherlands. A lead off presentation was delivered by Mr. Ward Lutin, EASO Documentation and COI Officer. The panel explored how the EU and Member States have responded to the influx of Eritrean asylum seekers from an operational point of view, in particular the destination States. EASO presented an overview on applicants and protection rates in the EU + and the outcomes of its recent practical cooperation meeting on Eritrea.

  • Round table 3: Different forms of protection granted in the EU to Syrian applicants: analysis of similarities and differences in MS application of legal concepts

    Click here for concept paperlead off presentation and report.

    The discussion was moderated by Doris Peschke, Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe. Speakers were Ms. Nele Allenberg, Evangelical Church in Germany, Mr. Michael Williams, FARR Swedish Network of Refugee Support Groups, Ms. Blanche Tax, UNHCR Geneva and Ursula Countess Praschma, Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, Germany. A lead off presentation was delivered by Ms. Jadwiga Maczynska, EASO Information and Analysis Coordinator.

    The panel analysed the similarities and differences in the type of protection granted to Syrian applicants and the application of the relevant EU legal concepts in such cases. In September 2014, Syrians were by far the largest group and during this period almost one out of four applicants in the EU + was Syrian. 20 EU + States had Syria as one of the top three countries of origin. While the majority of the EU + States issue a high protection rate to Syrian applicants, some States stand out with significantly lower rates. Moreover, where granted, the type of protection differs substantially. While some EU + States grant refugee status, other grant subsidiary protection or even humanitarian protection.

  • Round table 4: Facilitating a more common use of Article 15 QD in the EU – EASO’s COI and practical cooperation activities on Afghanistan and the development of guidance and tools on Art 15c

    Click here for concept paperlead off presentation and report.

    The discussion was moderated by Judge Bernard Dawson, Upper Tribunal, Immigration and Asylum Chamber, UK. Speakers were Achilles Skordas, Professor at University of Bristol, UK and Laurent Aldenhoff, European Council on Refugees and Exiles. A lead off presentation was delivered by Mr. Jamil Addou, EASO Training, Quality and Expertise Officer.

    The panel discussed Member State’s existing practices in applying Article 15 of the Qualification Directive (with a particular emphasis on the notion of ’serious harm’) with regard to specific groups of applicants for international protection. Challenges in establishing country of origin information and in practical interpretation of legal notions regarding different forms of international protection were examined. The panel furthermore explored practical measures to stimulate convergence and harmonisation of practices, through efforts such as EASO’s COI and practical cooperation activities, on Afghanistan and other relevant countries of origin and guidance and tools on Article 15C.

12 December 2014

Key note speech by a Member of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) – MEP Laura Ferrara

MEP Ferrara highlighted how the role played by civil society is instrumental and complementary to the work of EASO. Civil society organizations represent an essential tool to complete the information received from Member States authorities and to capture in due time any alerts of malfunctioning of system or exemplary good practices. Therefore, the timely dialogue between EASO and civil society was recognized of outmost importance. The coherent implementation of the CEAS will enable to improve the EU system globally, but it requires reaching common standards in different Member States and building trust. This goal can only be reached through a multi-actor framework, where civil society, state authorities and EASO work together. References were made to the important tasks of EASO to provide statistical data to the co-legislators, to support the implementation of art.33 of the Dublin Regulation in regards to early warning and preparedness and to develop further ways to support Member States under particular pressure.

Key note speech by Dr Robert K. Visser, EASO Executive Director

The EASO Executive Director provided a thorough analysis of the achievements and of the way forward for EASO’s cooperation with civil society. Some remarkable results were highlighted, including the around 100 contributions received in 2014 by over 70 organizations, the establishment of three focused consultation channels, the input of civil society to the 2013 EASO Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the EU and its public launch in Brussels, and the different channels developed by EASO in order to promote a wider dissemination of information (i.e. newsletter, improved interactive webpage, participation of civil society representatives to meeting and workshops). The EASO Executive Director presented the main actions foreseen for 2015 to strengthen EASO’s engagement with civil society: involve civil society and academia to further develop common COI and grant public access to the COI Portal; engage civil society in EASO’s work as ‘clearing house’ on resettlement; organize focused meetings with national and local NGOs in the countries where EASO is offering operational support; visit a number of consultative forum members on the job; explore additional ways for civil society to provide inputs to EASO Early warning and Preparedness System (EPS) and the EASO Information and Documentation System.

  • Break out session 1 – Producing and sharing EU-level COI

    Click here for concept paper and report.

    The session was facilitated by Stephanie Huber Asylum Research Consultancy and Ward Lutin EASO Documentation and COI Officer. Following the recent EASO COI Publications on Somalia and Chechnya, and in light of the ongoing production of a COI report on the security situation in Afghanistan and a Guide on COI and LGBTI, this session aimed to provide some insight into the EASO COI production processes and inform civil society about some new developments with regard to sharing and producing EU-level COI. It also aimed at identifying and discussing possible input from different stakeholders on the production of COI by EASO. During the discussion, participants exchanged views on the role and added value of COI reports. Diverging opinions were voiced on whether COI reports should contain analysis and whether or not they should be policy-oriented. The need for balanced sources was stressed. At the end of the session, EASO briefly referred to the recently adopted proposal to make the European COI Portal publicly available.

  • Break out session 2 – EASO's operational support

    Click here for concept paper and report.

    The session was facilitated by Eva Singer Danish Refugee Council and Anca Pristavu EASO Operational Support Officer. Participants exchanged views on tools used in emergency and tailor made support provided by EASO to requesting Member States and the impact that these had on the asylum and reception systems of those Member States. The possible contribution of civil society in this context was discussed. It was agreed that a cooperation platform be set up and a methodology drafted in order for civil society representatives to be part of an EASO operational support area.

  • Session 3 – EASO's quality processes

    Click here for concept paperpresentation and report.

    The session was facilitated by Wilfried Buchhorn Head of UNHCR Liaison Office to EASO and Jamil Addou EASO Training, Quality and Expertise Officer. Participants were introduced to the EASO quality processes, the method used, outcomes and tools developed. The discussion focussed on the progress made so far and on possible ways in which civil society could contribute to the Quality Matrix process. EASO underscored that the Quality tools are meant to contribute to better efficiency in the daily work of case officers. In order to foster the involvement of civil society in the development of Quality Tools, EASO was invited to publicise its plans. It was also noted that civil society has a role to play at the national level to cooperate with national authorities in providing external feedback on the implementation of quality standards.

  • Session 4 – EASO’s Information and Documentation System

    Click here for concept paper and report.

    The session was facilitated by Kris Pollet, ECRE and Jadwiga Maczynska EASO Information and Analysis Coordinator. Ms. Maczynska outlined the development of EASO’s Information and Documentation System (IDS) as a key tool in understanding how the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) functions. EASO demonstrated how IDS could be used to source key information on asylum processes across EU+ countries, while Kris Pollet provided an interesting overview on ECRE’s Asylum Information Database (AIDA) project.

    Key points included the challenge of keeping IDS accurate and up to date, making it a tool that adds value rather than replicates information stored elsewhere, and ensuring it becomes an important reference point at EU+ level.

 

 

Consultations

2021

Overview of planned consultations with civil society in 2021

Consultation on: Deadline  Status

Call for input to the Asylum Report 2021

Thursday 25 February Closed

Consultation on the Staff Welfare Guide

N/A Closed

Call for feedback on the EUAA 2022 Work Programme

Monday 15 March Closed

Call for feedback on the General Report 2020

Thursday 22 July Closed
Evaluation survey of the 2021 Asylum Report  N/A Q4
Call for input from Civil Society on survey for the 2021 Annual Plenary Meeting Thursday 10 June Closed

 

Input from Civil Society to the EASO Asylum Report 2021

 

2020

Overview of planned consultations with civil society in 2020

Consultation Description  Deadline  Target Audience Status

Call for feedback on the EASO Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the EU in 2018

Friday 7 February Civil society organisations Closed

Call for feedback on the EASO 2021 Work Programme

Thursday 30 April  Civil society organisations  Closed
Call for input to the 2019 EASO Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the EU  Tuesday 10 March Civil society organisations See input
Call for feedback on the EASO Annual General Report 2019 Friday 24 July Civil society organisations Closed
Call for input of relevant publications for the early drafting phase of the Annual Report 2020 Friday 11 December Civil society organisations Closed

 

Input from civil society to the 2019 EASO Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the EU

Should you require any further information with regards to a particular consultation, please contact us by email.

2019

Overview of consultations with civil society in 2019

Consultation Description  Deadline  Target Audience Status

Call for civil society input to the 2018 EASO Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the EU 

Background:

The Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the EU is one EASO's flagship products. It includes a comprehensive analysis of relevant statistics, as well as information on important asylum related developments at EU+ and national level and on the practical functioning of the CEAS.

Thursday 7 March Consultative Forum Members See Input

Call for input from civil society for the 2019 Consultative Forum Meetings

Background:

This Survey seeks input on what theme the Consultative Forum meetings should focus on and asks for ideas and suggestions as to how you would like to see the meetings implememented.

Friday 15 February Consultative Forum Members Closed
Call for civil society feedback on the EASO 2020 Work Programme  Wednesday 20 February Consultative Forum Members Closed
Annual General Report 2018   Consultative Forum Members Closed
Consultation Request on the Judiciary Analysis on Legal Standards for the Reception of Applicants for International Protection  Friday 20 September Consultative Forum Members Closed 

 

Input from civil society to the 2018 EASO Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the EU

2018
2017

Overview of completed consultations 2017

Call for civil society input to the
2016 EASO Annual Report on the Situation of asylum in the EU
Contributions
Call for Civil Society Input to the Draft Work Programme 2018  
Call for Civil Society Input to the EASO Annual General Report 2016  
Call for Civil society Input to the Draft Practical Judicial Guide on Country of Origin Information  
Call for Civil Society Input to the Draft Judicial Analysis on Asylum Procedures  
Online survey to evaluate the usefulness and added-value
of the Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum
Survey report 
Consultation on draft EASO training module on Interpreting in the Asylum Context