EASO organised its 10th Consultative Forum Plenary as a virtual meeting in the mornings of 13 and 14 October 2020. This year’s Plenary marked the 10th edition of the Consultative Forum and the overall theme focused on the evolution of EASO over the last ten years and perspectives for the future.
The very first edition of the Consultative Forum was organised in 2011 - the year that EASO became fully operational. Although expectations for the Agency were high, its resources were few, reflecting its stage of development as a start-up agency. On the occasion of its 10th edition, and with discussions on the future of the Agency expected to be resumed soon, it was therefore timely to look back on the development of EASO’s activities over the last ten years, as well as to look at what is next, for the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and the Agency’s role therein.
The meeting consisted of both plenary discussions (day 1) as well as interactive thematic parallel break-out sessions (day 2).
EASO’s Executive Director, Ms. Nina Gregori, opened the meeting emphasising that this year’s Consultative Forum was special for several reasons, including the fact that the meeting was held online as the pandemic continued to have major impacts around the world, including on the situation of asylum and migration.
Mark Camilleri, the Head of the Executive Office, introduced the roundtable discussion and invited EASO’s Heads of Centres to discuss the evolution of EASO’s activities over the last ten years. Lilian Tsourdi, Odysseus Network/Assistant Professor at Maastricht University, provided a commentary on what role EASO has played in the CEAS and how its activities have evolved over time, including its implications.
During the second session, Petra Baeyens, Senior Legal Officer at ECRE, provided a commentary on the future perspectives for the CEAS in light of the new Pact on Migration and Asylum and the Agency’s role therein, followed by Joanna Darmanin, Deputy Head of Asylum Unit, European Commission, DG Home and Migration, who presented the Pact and also addressed the transformation of EASO into the EUAA.
On day two of the Forum, three inter-active parallel workshops were organised on Training and Professional Development; Resettlement and Humanitarian Admission and Vulnerable Groups.
Overall all, three workshops aimed at providing more detailed information on EASO activities, exchanging information on EASO’s and civil society’s role and activities in the areas discussed, and serving as an opportunity to explore possibilities to strengthen future cooperation.
Despite it being online, the event was a success, with the plenary sessions followed by around 200 participants and the workshops followed by around 100 participants, with more joining in for the reporting session and closing remarks.