Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. “Support is our mission”: a critical assessment of EASO’s mandate and resources. – II.1. EASO’s mandate: areas of involvement and limitations. – II.2. EASO’s resources: a paper tiger? – III. Operational support: from expert consultants towards an integrated EU administration? – III.1. EASO operational support outside the hotspot approach. – III.2. Hotspots as the breeding ground for an integrated European administration – IV. The rise of a “European Union Agency for Asylum”: ingraining common processing? – V. Conclusions.
Abstract: This article assesses the role of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) in the European asylum policy and the shifts that are taking place in the policy’s administration modes. EASO is tasked with coordinating practical cooperation efforts so as to achieve harmonisation “bottom-up”, namely through the harmonisation of practices. Tasked with supporting Member States “subject to particular pressure”, the agency has been called to play a key operational role in the running of the “hotspots”. I focus in particular on the agency’s operational activities, commenting on the agency’s level of interaction with national administrations. I evaluate the extent which the agency’s working unsettles pre-existing assumptions about the balance of powers between the EU institutions and the Member States regarding the implementation of the asylum policy. In light of the Commission proposal on reform of this agency, I comment on initiatives that could be envisaged in the future under the agency’s mandate and what these would mean for the administrative governance of the EU asylum policy.
Keywords: European Asylum Support Office – EU asylum policy – practical cooperation – administrative governance – integrated european administration – agencification.
* Max Weber Fellow, Department of Law, European University Institute (EUI), email@example.com.