Practical cooperation among European Union (EU) member states on a number of asylum issues is a key priority for the EU. The European Asylum Support Office (EASO), an independent EU agency, has been mandated to facilitate such practical cooperation among the different member states. It became operational in 2011.
UNHCR is a member of the EASO's management board, which takes decisions on EASO's work programme, priorities and other policy and operational issues. A formal working arrangement between the two organizations was foreseen under the asylum support office's founding regulations.
The UN refugee agency maintains a liaison office with EASO in Malta to strengthen and coordinate cooperation. UNHCR offers its substantial expertise and knowledge of international refugee law and practice - as well as the asylum systems of the member states - to assist the EASO in its work. This includes, among other things, to promote a high quality in asylum decision-making throughout the European Union.