The European Ombudsperson will examine practices by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) at "hotspots" (reception centers) in Greece. The move comes in response to a complaint about the inadmissibility decisions taken under the EU-Turkey Agreement. The complaint was filed by ECCHR with the support of Brot für die Welt in April 2017. On 1 June, the Ombudsperson declared the complaint admissible. The complaint argues that EASO's role in the decision-making process amounts to maladministration and asks the European Ombudsman to open an inquiry. ECCHR requests the suspension of EASO's involvement in admissibility interviews and the limitation of its activities to conduct not in breach of EU law.
The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) is the agency that conducts the interviews and recommends a decision to the Greek Asylum Service. Thereby, it plays a decisive role in the assessment of the (in)admissibility of applications for international protection. ECCHR has serious concerns as to the legality and legitimacy of EASO's actions in the context of the EU-Turkey Statement. EASO was established in 2010 with the mandate to support Member States in providing international protection. In 2016, the agency deployed numerous experts to the Greek Hotspots in order to assist with the "extraordinary measures" stipulated in the EU-Turkey Statement. EASO officers conduct interviews and recommend a decision to the Greek Asylum Service, who in practice rely on EASO's recommendation without posing any questions to the applicant themselves. The EU Ombudsperson is an independent institution tasked with holding the EU administration to account for failures to respect fundamental rights or legal principles.