The new European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) started its work with a “reinforced” mandate, a European Commission statement said on Wednesday.

The new EU asylum agency will provide “more efficient” support for member states in managing asylum applications, the statement said.

The agency was created by extending the competencies of its predecessor, the European Asylum Support Office.

The EUAA will receive €172 million ($195 million) from an EU funds in 2022 and will launch eight operations in Belgium, Greece, the Greek Cypriot administration, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, and Spain with a 2,000-strong staff.

The institution will help the EU countries with training and exchange of information, as well as by sending personnel from a reserve of 500 experts, including interpreters, case handlers, and reception specialists upon the demand of national authorities.

The agency will also monitor the asylum systems of member states and ensure that national authorities respect the same guidelines and principles when they process asylum requests.

It will assist resettlement of refused applicants in non-EU countries as well.

In 2019, the European Commission presented a New Pact on Migration and Asylum, mainly focusing on returns, pre-entry checks, and partnerships with third countries to prevent migration flows.

The creation of the EU Asylum Agency was one of the recommendations from the reform package based on a draft from 2016.

In 2020, EU member states granted international protection to over 280,000 people.

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