News Published: 1 December 2023
EU Civil Society Organisations working on asylum agree to operational priorities, as fundamental rights look to shape 2024
The EUAA Consultative Forum of Civil Society Organisations working in the fields of asylum and reception, has just completed its re-constitution in line with the new EUAA Regulation. Its members have elected their leadership for a 2-year term of office, as well as agreed new working methods and operational priorities. With this, the Agency can now formally consult the body on its draft Fundamental Rights Strategy and the related Complaints Mechanism.
Between 30 November and 1 December, the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA)’s Consultative Forum, which brings together just under 120 Civil Society Organisations (CSO), gathered in Malta for the second annual plenary meeting in its new format. The meeting, which was attended by around 70 organisations, formally adopted its working methods and elected its new Chair, Ms. Ana CIUBAN of the Intercultural Mediators Multiethnic Association (A.M.M.I.) to a 2-year term of office. With this, the re-constitution of the body, as required under the updated EUAA Regulation is complete.
On 30 November, the participants received an update on the Agency’s work, in terms of its Operational Support to 13 EU Member States, Training and Professional Development of national officials responsible for asylum and reception, as well as its latest analyses on the protection situation in EU+ countries in 2023 so far.
Members also held an initial exchange of views with the recently appointed EUAA Fundamental Rights Officer; the latter will seek the opinion of the Consultative Forum on the draft EUAA Fundamental Rights Strategy and the related Complaints Mechanism in the next months. These are key pillars of the Agency’s new mandate, and will help ensure that the respect for fundamental rights remains central to its activities, with important input from Civil Society partners.
On 1 December, the members of the Consultative Forum’s two thematic working groups met to discuss their operational priorities for 2024, including on vulnerable persons seeking international protection and Country of Origin Information (COI) activities. During these sessions, participants learned about the relevant activities on vulnerability carried out by the Agency over the last years, as well as the key pillars of the recently adopted EUAA Vulnerability Strategy (to be published soon).
Separately, they shared updates on COI research carried out throughout 2023 and engaged in discussions about Civil Society’s contribution to the preparation of the Agency’s reports, as part of the Country Information and Guidance work programme for 2024.
The Consultative Forum is the Agency’s main channel for cooperation with nearly 120 Civil Society Organisations and other competent bodies working in the field of asylum at local, regional, national, Union, or international level. The Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), the UNHCR and Frontex are members as well. The Consultative Forum is now embedded in the Agency’s overall governance and its elected Chair has key advisory roles to the Executive Director and the Management Board.