Dutchman to lead EASO agency in Malta.
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Dutchman to lead EASO agency in Malta.

The Management board of the Malta-based European Asylum Support Office (EASO) – has chosen Rob Visser – a Dutch national – to be the first executive director of the agency.

The announcement was made this morning in Brussels by EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.

Mr Visser, who will now assemble the staff needed for the functioning of this agency, has vast experience in migration and European affairs. He is currently the Director General for Immigration, Legal and European Affairs at the Dutch Ministry for Justice. Mr Visser also acted as a special advisor to the Dutch Prime Minister on migration and European Affairs.

The two other candidates for the post were an Italian and Greek citizen.

Malta was chosen by the EU Council to host the office following fierce competition by Cyprus and Bulgaria who also wanted to host the agency. However, following months of lobbying coordinated by Malta’s Permanent Representation in Brussels, Malta’s bid was deemed to be the best among the competing candidatures.

The office, which will be responsible to coordinate the efforts of EU member states on asylum and to improve the implementation of the Common European Asylum System, is expected to generate a lucrative economic spin off in the Maltese economy with an initial budget of €40 million to be spent during the first three years of operation.

EASO is expected to recruit some 60 officials which is to increase to about 120 at the end of the first three-year period.

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