European Asylum Support Office (EASO) / European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA)

EUAA staff member at a camp for asylum seekers in Cyprus.
An EUAA staff member in Cyprus: the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) provides support to Schengen countries experiencing particular pressure on their asylum and reception systems. © EUAA 2022

The European Asylum Agency (EUAA), which replaced the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) in 2022, facilitates, coordinates and promotes intergovernmental cooperation on asylum issues. The agency provides support to Schengen countries subject to particular pressures on their asylum and reception systems. Switzerland entered into an agreement with the EU on EASO participation and is now considering possible arrangements for participating in the EUAA.

Under EU Regulations establishing EASO and EUAA the four Schengen/Dublin associated countries (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) have the option to participate in the agencies' work. On 10 June 2014, Switzerland and the EU signed an agreement setting out the terms of Switzerland's participation in EASO. The agreement came into force on 1 March 2016.

The EUAA started work on 19 January 2022. It is tasked with continuing the work of EASO and carrying out some additional responsibilities. The EASO agreement between Switzerland and the EU remains in effect. The potential arrangements for Switzerland's participation in the EUAA are currently under review.

Tasks performed by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO)

EASO was inaugurated on 19 June 2011. It was primarily tasked with providing operational support to Schengen countries in response to situations of particular pressure on national asylum and reception systems. It also facilitates, coordinates and promotes intergovernmental cooperation on asylum issues. In order to achieve this aim, EASO is specifically tasked with the following:

  • Coordinating the deployment of Asylum Support Teams (ASTs).The ASTs comprise experts put forward by member states whose details are held in Asylum Intervention Pools. ASTs may temporarily be deployed to member states requesting EASO assistance.
  • Arranging common training courses at European level for asylum experts supplied by national authorities.
  • Coordinating the sharing of Country of Origin Information between member states based on data collected from national authorities, NGOs and international organisations.

In its capacity as an independent centre of expertise, EASO works closely with the relevant authorities within the member states and with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, the European Commission and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).

Switzerland shows solidarity on migration and asylum issues

By participating in EASO, Switzerland is demonstrating solidarity, ensuring that asylum procedures in Europe are fairer and more effective, and helping to strengthen the Dublin system. This is not just in Switzerland's interests, but in the interests of migrants in need of protection and asylum.

In participating in EASO, Switzerland remains committed to gathering Country of Origin Information at European level, enabling it to benefit from the expertise of other European countries. It also makes Swiss expertise and experts available to other countries and is involved in actions to support individual countries. Switzerland is therefore making an important contribution to managing migration in Europe.

EASO's work is confined to coordination and support and therefore it has no control over Swiss asylum law. Neither does it have any power to issue instructions to national authorities. As EASO is not covered by the Schengen and Dublin agreements, Switzerland is not obliged to participate. However, it took the decision to participate in line with the other Schengen and Dublin associated countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), which are also currently reviewing the potential terms of their participation in the EUAA.



  • EUAA starts work (19 January)


  • Swiss–EU EASO agreement comes into force (1 March)


  • Approval by Parliament (20 March)


  • Agreement signed (10 June)

Status August 2022