Holding the European Asylum Support Office Accountable for its role in Asylum Decision-Making:
German Law Journal (2020), 21, pp. 506–531, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/glj.2020.21
The Common European Asylum System (CEAS) seeks to harmonize national asylum procedures. The initial implementation design of the CEAS, reflective of the theory of executive federalism, foresaw that national authorities were to conduct asylum processing and implement the harmonized norms. The implementation design of the EU asylum policy has, nevertheless, started to shift. An integrated European administration is emerging. One area this is pronounced in is asylum decision-making, where patterns of joint implementation have surfaced. This term broadly refers to staff and experts deployed by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), an EU agency, working alongside national administrators, including on the processing of asylum claims. This Article scrutinizes the emergence of joint implementation patterns in EU asylum policy and the resulting accountability challenge, drawing both from legal analysis and political science theories. I also refer to administrative practice as documented in secondary sources. EASO is currently subject to a mosaic of accountability processes. Two main pitfalls emerge: the intricate balance between accountability and independence; and accessibility for the individual. Against this backdrop, I focus on extra-judicial accountability through the European Ombudsman which, combined with the envisaged internal “individual complaints mechanism” within EASO, could go some way in ensuring applicants’ procedural rights.