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The Peculiar Nature of EU Home Affairs Agencies in Migration Control: Beyond Accountability versus Autonomy?

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AbstractThis article analyses the development paths and practices of three EU Home Affairs agencies: Frontex, Europol and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). Particular attention is given to those tasks and forms of inter-agency cooperation raising fundamental rights sensitivities in the scope of migration controls. The article argues that the specific Home Affairs focus of these agencies and their ways of working, including the use of ‘experimental governance’ strategies, poses particular challenges to individuals on the move, specifically in relation to their right to an effective remedy. These findings are linked to the academic debate on the balance between accountability and autonomy of EU Agencies. Due to their peculiar nature, evidenced by several cross-cutting commonalities potentially impacting on basic rights of individuals, we argue that this balance metaphor is not appropriate for these Agencies; instead higher standards of accountability should apply with closer on-going control over their activities.


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