Title: Effects of decoupling in asylum case processing - the case of the European asylum support office in Greece

Authors: Johan Ekstedt

Addresses: Department of Global Political Studies, Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration Diversity and Welfare, Malmö University, Nordenskiöldsgatan 1, 211 19 Malmö, Sweden

Abstract: This paper investigates the European asylum support office's (EASO) expanding role within asylum case processing at Europe's external borders. With empirical examples from EASO's activities in Greece, it investigates how EASO caseworkers navigate the complex field of asylum case processing, with particular focus on the Greek so-called 'Border Procedure'. Deploying a combination of semi-structured interviews and text analysis, the article shows that a divergence between formal values and actual practices on the ground has a major impact on caseworkers' morale. Such 'decoupling' of de jure values from on-the-ground practice causes both cynicism and conflict within the organisation. It is furthermore shown that attempts by local managers to establish narratives contradicting EASO's centrally established values are unlikely to be successful but are instead met with resistance from caseworkers.

Keywords: European asylum support office; EASO; border procedure; new institutionalism; decoupling; asylum casework; bureaucracy; CEAS; Greece; norms; values; EUAA.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMBS.2022.10045553

International Journal of Migration and Border Studies, 2022 Vol.7 No.1, pp.71 - 88

Received: 11 Nov 2021
Accepted: 25 Jan 2022

Published online: 23 Mar 2022 *

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