EASO is an agency of the European Union mandated to enhance EU Member States’ practical cooperation on asylum in Europe; to assist Member States to fulfil their protection obligations; and to act as a centre of expertise on asylum in Europe. EASO was established in May 2010, and began work in February 2011. Both resettlement and relocation are part of EASO’s mandate. One of the aims of the agency is to ‘coordinate exchanges of information and other actions on resettlement taken by Member States with a view to meeting the international protection needs of refugees in third countries and showing solidarity with their host countries.’
EASO’s role in relation to resettlement was reiterated by the former European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström in an answer to parliamentary questions in December 2011, in which she confirmed the agency’s commitment to ‘pursue Article 7 of its mandate by better defining its activities on resettlement in close collaboration with Member States, UNHCR, IOM and other relevant partners.’ Under the EASO Work Programme 2012, a first EU Resettlement Seminar was organised in October 2012. The seminar did appear to confirm that EASO will build on the partnership principle that underlies global and European resettlement cooperation by including governments, UNHCR, IOM and NGOs in this area of its work.
EASO objectives for 2014 in the area of resettlement include the development of further develop methodologies and tools for strengthening Member States' ability to resettle refugees and contribute to the continued evaluation and further development of the joint EU resettlement programme. EASO will exercise a coordinating role in exchanging information and other actions on resettlement taken by Member States in cooperation with the UNHCR and the IOM.