“As the EU Commission has confirmed, McKinsey did not decide public policy or assess the merits of claims,” said a company spokeswoman.
“Our role, as documented, was to provide operational data and advice to authorities to inform their decisions. This meant that cases of asylum seekers were processed quicker and heard sooner, which provided clarity about who had a right to remain in the EU.”
It is unclear to what extent the measures proposed by McKinsey have been implemented.
Many details of McKinsey’s activities are still under wraps today. The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, justifies this on the grounds that full disclosure would pose a risk to public security and “undermine the protection of commercial interests of McKinsey”.
An EASO spokesman said that “efficient asylum procedures do not equate to a deterioration of quality and individual assessment of applications. All are important elements of the Common European Asylum System, wherein not only does an applicant have the right to have one’s application reviewed on its individual merits, but also within a reasonable time frame.”
The agency did not comment on the individual measures proposed by McKinsey. The company had not submitted the proposals to EASO, but rather to the Steering Committee that led the project, the EASO spokesman said. Even though EASO was a member of this committee, which no longer exists today, it could not speak on its behalf or that of its members.
Besides the EASO, the Steering Committee included the EU’s Structural Reform Support Service, SRSS, the EU border management agency Frontex, Greek authorities and McKinsey itself. The EASO spokesman suggested asking the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, about how the consultancy’s proposals were followed up.
When asked, a Commission spokeswoman replied: “While public authorities may decide to rely on the expertise of external companies where relevant, it is for public authorities to assess and review the contribution of external companies, and to make their policy decisions independently.”
The Commission and EU authorities acted only in a supporting role, she said, and suggested any queries regarding individual measures proposed by McKinsey should be put to Greek authorities. The Greek asylum agency, however, did not respond to an email seeking comment.