As a decentralised EU Agency with its own governance structure, the EUAA acts within the policies and institutional framework of the EU. Strong cooperation is maintained with the EU Institutions, other EU Agencies and particularly those in the field of Justice and Home Affairs, as well as Member States and Schengen Associated Countries.
Several Working Arrangements, Exchange of Letters and Cooperation Plans have been concluded by the Agency over the past years. Such frameworks, remain applicable also following the entry into force of the Regulation transforming EASO into the EU Agency for Asylum.
The EUAA is one of nine EU agencies working in the field of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA). These nine agencies work together on topics of common interest in the Justice and Home Affairs Agencies’ Network (JHAAN). This Network was established in 2010 to facilitate and increase inter-agency cooperation among the agencies in the JHA field, and to explore synergies in areas of common interest.
Together, the JHA agencies contribute to the implementation of EU’s objectives in the fields of migration, asylum and external border management, the fight against organised crime, drug trafficking and terrorism, gender equality and respect for fundamental rights. They also facilitate the functioning of relevant EU IT systems, contribute to EU activities on illicit drugs and drugs addiction and facilitate law-enforcement training.
The Network is constituted of the nine JHA Agencies (in alphabetical order):
- The EU Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL)
- The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)
- The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)
- The European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA)
- The EU Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA)
- The EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust)
- The EU’s Law Enforcement Agency (Europol)
- The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and
- The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex)
EUAA Presidency of 2023
The presidency of the Network rotates on a yearly basis. This year, the EUAA holds the presidency of the JHAAN. In this role, the Agency has set the priorities for the Network for a year, and will organise thematic activities accordingly.
In 2023, during the EUAA Presidency of the JHAAN, the Network will focus on the following priorities:
- Implementation of the EU Green Deal in JHA Agencies
- Information provision in mixed migration situations
- JHAAN communication and promotion
Additionally, in its presidency role, the EUAA will organise other Network meetings, such as the yearly Heads of JHA Agencies meeting, contact points meetings and working group meetings.
The work programme of the Justice and Home Affairs Agencies Network for 2023 can be accessed here.
As of 2022, based on the 10-year Assessment Report of the JHAAN adopted by the Heads of JHA Agencies in 2021, the Network implements a Trio Presidency coordination concept. With this concept, three consecutive presiding agencies work closely together by introducing overarching topics to be addressed during three consecutive years. The current Trio (CEPOL, EUAA and eu-LISA) agreed to continue keeping important topics affecting each JHA agency such as ‘digitalisation’ and its different dimensions, ‘business continuity’ and the ‘EU Green Deal implementation’ on the agenda of the Network.
Moreover, the Trio has also agreed to continue working on implementation of the recommendations from the JHAAN Assessment Report. These considerations are reflected in the work programme for 2023, which was endorsed at the Heads of JHA Agencies meeting on 29 November 2022 in Budapest. Continuing the tradition of inclusiveness and the practice of active involvement and ownership of all Network members, the EUAA Presidency relies on the expertise and active contribution of all Agencies, in particular concerning topics specific to the individual mandates of the Agencies.
Joint papers and statements of the JHAAN
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The EUAA has developed a very dynamic cooperation with EU institutions, in particular with the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. Apart from regular exchange of information, the EUAA is regularly invited to contribute with its expertise to discussions within the Council and the European Parliament in order to support evidence-based policy making mainly in relation to the Common European Asylum System.
The European Commission
The European Commission plays an important role in the agency’s work and participates in its governing bodies. As part of its function to supervise the implementation of the EU treaties and legislation, the European Commission oversees the work of EU Agencies, including the EUAA.
- Two European Commission representatives are part of the EUAA’s Management Board (together with Member States representatives).
- The EUAA falls within the responsibility and portfolio of the European Commission Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME) and the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship. The EUAA also cooperates with other Directorates and bodies within the European Commission, such as DG NEAR, DG JUST and DG INTPA.
- EUAA staff are in constant contact with the relevant Directorates at the European Commission. In this way, the European Commission can readily draw on the agency’s assistance and expertise when developing, implementing and evaluating EU policies and legislation on Asylum, while the Agency can also ensure that its activities remain in line with the overall EU strategies and policies.
- A Working Arrangement between the Agency and DG HOME for cooperation on external action is in place since 2018.
The Council of the European Union
As one of the EU co-legislators, the Council of the European Union, together with the European Parliament, negotiates and adopts the legislative mandate of the EUAA as well legislation establishing the Common European Asylum System (CEAS).
- The EUAA provides the Council with assistance and technical expertise relating to asylum in support of the Council’s deliberations on both legislation and policy.
- The EUAA is frequently invited to participate in Ministerial meetings of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, as well as in the Council’s preparatory bodies, such as meetings of the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA), JHA Counsellors meetings, and Working Party meetings. As a centre of expertise on asylum, the EUAA provides practical and technical contributions to inform legislative discussions as well as policy debates.
- The EUAA also provides support to the Presidency of the Council, contributing also to the preparation of debates.
The European Parliament
As one of the co-legislators, the European Parliament, together with the Council, negotiates and adopts the legislative mandate of the EUAA as well legislation establishing the Common European Asylum System.
- The Agency collaborates primarily with the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), as the European Parliament Committee which leads on migration and asylum matters. In this regard, the EUAA is frequently invited to participate in Committee hearings and meetings to provide updated information on the Agency’s activities and to contribute with its expertise to legislative and policy debates in relation to asylum. The EUAA also participates in other meeting formations upon invitation, such as meetings of the Rapporteur and Shadow Rapporteurs on specific files and Group meetings on asylum-related topics. The EUAA also maintains close contacts with MEPs, with regular bilateral meetings.
- The EUAA also works with the European Parliament Committee on Budgets (BUDG) and the Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT), in relation to discussions on the Agency’s budget and the budget discharge procedure respectively.
The European External Action Service (EEAS)
As the European External Action Service manages the EU's diplomatic relations with other countries outside the bloc and conducts EU foreign & security policy, the EUAA’s cooperation with the EEAS is especially important in relation to the external dimension activities in the field of asylum and migration. In this regard, the Agency has a Working Arrangement with the EEAS for cooperation on external action since 2021. EUAA staff is in regular contact with the EU Delegations in the third countries where the Agency is providing capacity building support. The Agency has also concluded co-location Arrangements with the EEAS, whereby relevant EU Delegations host Agency staff.
Cooperation with other EU Agencies constitutes an important complementary element of the EUAA’s work and activities. Inter-agency cooperation based on exchange of information, sharing good practices, carrying out mutual consultations and conducting coordinated and/or joint activities (where relevant) in the common areas of interest, brings a high added value and contributes to the increased efficiency of our actions.
Being one of the EU decentralised Agencies and belonging to the family of the Justice and Home Affairs Agencies, the EUAA participates in two networks which aim to strive for inter-agency cooperation: the EU Agencies Network (EUAN) and the Justice and Home Affairs Agencies Network (JHAAN). Both networks have established several subgroups and subnetworks to allow for thematic discussions at expert level. Each year, both networks organise an annual meeting of the Heads of Agencies.
EU Agencies Network
The EUAN was established in 2012 and is currently composed of 48 EU decentralised Agencies and Joint Undertakings and supported by the Shared Support Office in Brussels. In November 2020, Heads of EU Agencies endorsed the EUAN Strategy for the period of 2021-2027. This new multiannual strategy is built around two main pillars where EU Agencies and Joint Undertakings are committed to join forces and mutualise efforts: ‘EUAN as a role model for administrative excellence’ and ‘EUAN as valued institutional partner’.
Inter-agency cooperation is also enhanced at bilateral level. To better align common projects and share information systemically, the EUAA has working arrangements in place with other Agencies:
In some cases, Cooperation Plans are also agreed to further detail the cooperation between the Agencies, under the umbrella of the respective Working Arrangement:
- EASO - Frontex Cooperation Plan: In the period of 2019-2021, cooperation with Frontex was guided also by a Cooperation Plan signed between the two agencies. The Plan aims to ensure effective synergies where our respective activities are closely related and details joint work in operational cooperation, information and analysis, capacity building and horizontal cooperation. To further facilitate cooperation with Frontex, the EUAA has also deployed a Liaison Officer to Frontex.
- EASO-eu-LISA Cooperation Plan: Cooperation with eu-LISA is also supported by a Cooperation Plan signed for the period of 2020-2022 which covers areas of cooperation such as border, asylum and migration management, security and business continuity, internal auditing, training, research and development, data and knowledge management, external and internal communication and data protection.
The EUAA works with Member States to help improve the implementation of the Common European Asylum System. All of the Member States are represented in the EUAA’s Management Board and have the opportunity to consider the Agency’s multiannual and annual Work Programmes, ensuring that the Agency’s activities meet the needs of the Member States. Member State involvement is crucial across the EUAA’s activities, be it in training, development of tools, guidance and recommendations and so forth. The EUAA also provides operational and technical assistance to Member States.
In view of the physical presence of staff members based in Member States where the EUAA is providing technical and operational assistance, the Agency also seeks to conclude Hosting Arrangements with those Member States. In Malta, the Seat Agreement concluded with the Maltese authorities applies. The following Hosting Arrangements are in force:
Close cooperation with Member States is also maintained at both the strategic and technical levels, with regular bilateral and multilateral contacts primarily with Home Affairs Ministries and their services, and the Permanent Representations to the EU based in Brussels.
The Agency is also open to participation by the Schengen Associated Countries, on the basis of agreements they conclude with the European Union. The Arrangement with Norway entered into force on 1 June 2014; with Liechtenstein on 1 January 2016, with Switzerland on 1 March 2016 and with Iceland on 1 August 2023, enabling them to participate in the Agency’s activities. However, in order for the Schengen Associated Countries to participate in activities that are new to the EU Agency for Asylum, new Arrangements need to be concluded with the EU.
The EUAA Regulation also introduced the requirement for the Agency to deploy liaison officers to the Member States. In accordance with Article 7(2) of the EUAA Regulation, the Management Board adopted Management Board Decision No 139 of 26 June 2023 on the nature and terms of deployment of liaison officers to the Member States, the regions of deployment and the Member States that will host them.