The EASO management board held its first formal meeting on 26 November and selected Mr Rob K Visser as EASO’s first executive Director. Mr Visser is currently the Director General for International Affairs and Immigration of the Dutch Ministry of Justice (directeur-generaal Internationale Aangelegenheden en Vreemdelingenzaken bij het ministerie van Justitie).
I have not been able to find a CV or biography of Mr Visser and have instead pieced the following information together from several online sources: He was appointed to the Director General position in 2003. Before that he worked as an adviser in the Office of the Prime Minister and as Deputy Secretary-General of the Ministry of General Affairs (plaatsvervangend secretaris-generaal van het ministerie van Algemene Zaken). He has also held positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He holds a doctoral degree. His doctoral research was published in a 2008 book entitled: “In dienst van het algemeen belang: Ministeriële verantwoordelijkheid en parlementair vertrouwen” (“Serving the public interest: Ministerial responsibility and parliamentary confidence”).
Mr Visser was the subject of a February 2005 Monthly Policy Interview by Eurasylum, Ltd. where he spoke about the “Key outcomes of the Dutch EU Presidency in the field of immigration and asylum.” Here are some excerpts from the 2005 interview:
“In the months leading up to [the June-Dec 2004 Dutch presidency] … [t]here was an atmosphere where all Member States were clearly aware that far-reaching cooperation was necessary if migration management was to become, effectively, a success. … A case in point is illegal migration in the Mediterranean. This does not only create migratory pressures on Europe’s external borders, it also leads to human tragedies that make clear to everyone that people are risking their lives to try and reach the shores of Europe. Such losses of life are unacceptable and require a policy response. They also require a willingness to accept the consequences of any such responses. For example, a European response to illegal migrants who apply for asylum requires the type of European asylum procedure and uniform asylum status that had already been anticipated in Tampere. The situation in the Mediterranean also leads to pertinent questions on EU relations with neighbouring third countries. There are many more such examples, such as the demographic situation in Europe or the situation of refugees close to their regions of origin. An integrated and comprehensive approach is needed today as much as it was at the time of the Tampere European Council in 1999. However, since Tampere we have gained considerable experience and become more aware of the primary importance of practical cooperation among Member States and with third countries….
[T]he transposition process is a difficult process. The implementation of Community legislation within national legislation is a new phenomenon as far as asylum and migration are concerned. Many directives are complicated, because they are the results of very intensive and difficult negotiations, which have sometimes led to legislative texts that were not always easy to interpret. In my view this is a major reason why the implementation process is going so slowly….
In the Hague Programme we have tried to find a fair balance. We have not only focused on control measures, but also on the need for integration of immigrants who reside legally in the European Union. We have focused on a common European asylum system, but also on capacity management in neighbouring third countries and on the strengthening of durable solutions for refugees in their regions of origin. Cooperation with third countries is not likely to become fully effective if the focus is only on control. Responsibilities should not be shifted, but shared, and this is the spirit of the Hague Programme….”
Before Mr Visser may assume his duties as Executive Director he must first appear before the European Parliament to answer questions.
Click here for full Eurasylum interview.