The EASO query system allows Member States and Associate Countries (EU+) to post written questions and receive replies concerning practical aspects of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and other matters related to asylum policies and practices in the EU+. The query system is also used to launch a query formulated in house by EASO. The main aim of the EASO query system is to provide consolidated replies to thematic specific questions within a short timeframe. Based on the information collected through the query process, EASO drafts high content-related summary reports with the main findings from the query often supplemented with the additional contextual information on data and situation in the country of origin.
In principle, the system allows interested experts in national asylum authorities to propose five types of queries on issues of interest to national administrations:
- Policy-related queries, which aim at collecting information on how EU+ countries shape their asylum policies, including with regard to different aspects of the asylum procedure as well as specific profiles of applicants. The number of queries submitted by EU+ countries has been significantly increasing in the last two years.
- Reception-related queries provide an opportunity for exchange of insights on legislation and practices among Reception Authorities of EU+ countries. They primarily focus on significant reception-related developments, as well as issues pertaining to the implementation of the recast Reception Conditions Directive.
- Dublin-related queries focus on questions pertaining to the implementation of Regulation No. 604/2013 (Dublin III Regulation) and Regulation No. 603/2013 (EURODAC Regulation). Points of inquiry may touch upon the current state of play in the implementation of the two Regulations, practices among EU+ countries vis-à-vis Dublin Procedures, and relevant jurisprudence at national level.
- Exclusion-related queries aim at facilitating the exchange of information for better understanding and handling among EU+ countries of specific protection issues related to the exclusion provisions contained primarily in the Article 12(2) and (3) and Article 17 of the recast Qualification Directive. As such, they touch upon both issues of exclusion from refugee status and issues of exclusion from eligibility for subsidiary protection.
- COI-oriented queries offer the opportunity for EU+ countries to share targeted information on the countries of origin of individuals seeking international protection. Queries may touch upon questions pertaining to the security situation in the country of origin, areas of safety, treatment of returnees by local authorities, and more. Insights generated through these queries are used to inform policies and practices among EU+ countries vis-à-vis individuals seeking international protection.
In 2018, a total of over 40 queries were processed in various thematic areas.
The Query system further galvanizes the ongoing cooperation between EASO and national administrations, promoting a culture of collaboration in the area of information sharing.
The system has been also used to instigate further dialogue among interested stakeholders on issues of interest to national administrations and beyond. As an example, an initial request by Fedasil (Belgium) to elicit insights from different EU+ countries on digital information tools for asylum seekers led to a broader discussion on the provision of asylum-related information to interested audiences, which culminated into a thematic meeting on the subject, organized in the frames of EASO’s consultative forum. Participants in the meeting comprised 30 operational NGOs, which exchanged insights on their experiences, lessons learned, and best practices in the area of information provision.
In an effort to increase efficiency in the process, EASO is currently developing an online Queries Portal, which will be available to experts in national asylum administrations in EU+ countries and which will fully integrate different types of queries, currently circulated through various channels. The online EASO Queries Portal will overall facilitate the coordination and the effective management of the query process.
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