European Asylum Support Office will nearly double in size in 2020
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European Asylum Support Office will nearly double in size in 2020

In 2019, over 70,000 migrants arrived in Greece according to estimates by the International Organisation for Migration. Credit: NeedPix.com

The European Asylum Support Office will nearly double the number of its operational deployments in 2020.

Up to 550 personnel will be deployed in Greece, 150 in Italy, 120 in Cyprus and 60 in Malta. Interpreters and security personnel will also be deployed to the four Member States, bringing the total deployment up to as many as 2,000 European Asylum Support Office (EASO) personnel, a statement made by the organisation explains.

In Greece, EASO will roughly double its personnel. Presence of personnel on the mainland will also increase by four times the level of 2019, with personnel being deployed to eight new locations in Thessaloniki and Ioannina.

In Cyprus, the number of deployed EASO caseworkers will double to 60, while personnel will also be present in 10 locations across the country. EASO personnel will also support the establishment of a first-line reception centre in Pournara refugee camp, as well as the development and establishment of a workflow for new arrivals.

EASO support for national authorities will also double in Malta, where EASO will in 2020 provide reception support for the first time.

Where EASO support in Italy is concerned, overall deployments will be reduced and attention shifted to focus on second instance support, meaning appeals to first instance decisions.

This announcement comes after EASO agreed operating plans with the national asylum authorities of Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta, after discussions about support that the asylum office would provide throughout 2020.

In 2019 an estimated 11,471 migrants arrived in Italy, 3,405 in Malta, 70,651 in Greece and 7,647 arrived in Cyprus according to figures provided by the International Organisation for Migration.

Evie McCullough
The Brussels Times

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