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Malta to Host EU Asylum Office after Bulgaria Withdraws Bid

Date: 04.12.2009

Bulgaria has withdrawn its candidacy to host the European Asylum Support Office thus allowing Malta to win the right to run the prestigious office.

Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov announced, after talking with Vice President of the EC Jacques Barrot, that Bulgaria was ready to withdraw its candidacy in favour of Malta, so as not to hinder a consensus decision. Vice President of the EC, Jacques Barrot. The European Asylum Support Office will operate with an estimated budget of EUR 50 M in its first 3 years.

The idea of the EASO was first brought up by the European Commission in February and Malta Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici immediately offered his country as its based.

In May, the European Parliament adopted a report approving the creation of a European Asylum Support Office, whose funding will be redeployed from the money currently allocated to the European Refugee Fund.

The Office will support member states in their efforts to implement a more consistent and fairer asylum policy, for example by helping to identify good practices, organising training at European level and improving access to accurate information on countries of origin.

The next step will be for the decision to be endorsed by EU leaders during their end-of-year summit in 2 weeks time.

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