Holding the European asylum support office accountable for its role in asylum decision-making: Mission impossible?

Evangelia (Lilian) Tsourdi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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 termbroadly 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-531
Number of pages26
JournalGerman Law Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2020


  • Migration
  • asylum
  • agencification
  • EASO
  • European Ombudsman
  • accountability
  • Common European Asylum System
  • EU law
  • fundamental rights


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