ATHENS – The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) on Tuesday signed an agreement for the doubling of its staff in Greece from 500 to 1,000 and an increase in its funding by 30 percent, to 36 million euros in 2020.
Alternate Minister for Migration and Asylum, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, and EASO Executive Director Nina Gregori signed an agreement for the hosting of the EASO business office in Greece. The agreement, which must be ratified by parliament, provides legal and administrative clarity to the EASO’s status in Greece, in the wake of its already stepped-up operational presence in the country under an operational plan it signed with Greece last December.
The EASO staff (case workers, field support staff, reception staff, appeals investigators, interpreters and administrative staff) will work to support the Asylum Service, the National Dublin Unit, the Reception and Identification Service and the Migrants Authority. Among other things, the number of case workers on the islands will double (from roughly 100 to 200), while those on the mainland will triple (from about 30 to 100), with additional staff settled in eight new locations in Thessaloniki and Ioannina, in addition to the 36 points where the EASO is already located throughout the country.
At the same time, the EASO’s financial commitment in Greece in 2020 will amount to 36 million euros (up from 27.5 million euros in 2019), representing about one-third of the agency’s total budget for 2020.