The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) will boost its operational deployments this year, with up to 550 personnel deployed in Greece, 150 in Italy, 120 in Cyprus and 60 in Malta, the agency said in a press release Tuesday.
The decision comes after the EU agency signed last year operating plans with the national asylum authorities of the four countries, following discussions on their needs.
The operating plan for Greece will see EASO roughly double its personnel in the country, including with almost three times as many caseworkers working in close cooperation with the Greek Asylum Service.
The agency will also continue to provide support in the overcrowded island hotspots and also in centres on the mainland, as well as targeted structural support to the Greek authorities on both asylum and reception.
Specifically on the mainland, the EU agency will “increase its presence by four times the level of 2019, with personnel being deployed to eight new locations in Thessaloniki and Ioannina to support the country’s regular asylum procedure,” it said.
EASO will also send interpreters and security personnel in all four member states, bringing the total deployment up to as many as 2,000 personnel.
In Cyprus, the number of deployed caseworkers will double in size to at least 60, while the Agency will be present in 10 locations in the country supporting both registration and the further processing of asylum applications.
The agency will also support the establishment of the first reception centre in Pournara, while the 2020 operating plan also includes collaborating with the concerned authorities to develop and implement the entire workflow for new arrivals.