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EU Asylum Support Office, Rights Agency Sign Working Arrangement

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) have signed a working arrangement for enhancing cooperation between the two agencies, it was announced on Tuesday.

The agreement was signed by EASO Executive Director Robert K. Visser and FRA Director Morten Kjaerum. The working arrangement, based on existing bilateral relations, identifies the relevant principles, areas and objectives for enhancing cooperation between the two EU agencies. It covers the fields of training, quality support, operational cooperation, research, information and analysis, as well as horizontal cooperation.

"The purpose of the working arrangement is to establish a cooperation framework on relevant areas of common work and interest and to set objectives and principles of such cooperation. Amongst other things, the agreement stipulates that both EU agencies will share their draft work programs and will consult each other on matters of common interest to be reflected therein," according to a press release that announced signing of the agreement.

Under the arrangement, both EASO and FRA agreed to exchange best practices in a number of fields, such as: their consultation activities with civil society representatives; on quality initiatives and projects as well as on tools and indicators for the application of high standards across the EU in the field of fundamental rights and international protection; and protection of vulnerable groups.

"This working arrangement will enable EASO to strengthen its cooperation network and continue contributing to the implementation of the Common European Asylum System across the EU," Visser said after signing the arrangement.

Meanwhile, Kjaerum noted that the agreement "consolidates the existing cooperation between FRA and EASO and will contribute to the promotion of fundamental rights throughout the EU."

FRA is one of the EU's specialized agencies set up to provide expert advice to the bloc's institutions and Member-States on a range of issues. FRA helps to ensure that the fundamental rights of people living in the EU are protected.

On the other hand, EASO is another EU agency that plays a key role in the concrete development of the Common European Asylum System. It was established with the aim of enhancing practical cooperation on asylum matters and helping Member-States fulfill their European and international obligations to give protection to people in need. EASO acts as a center of expertise on asylum, and provides support to Member-States whose asylum and reception systems are under particular pressure.

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