14 February 2014

A new comparative report by the European Migration Network reveals that the organisation of reception facilities for asylum seekers differs greatly between Member States and also within some Member States at sub-state level. In some cases, asylum seekers face sub-standard reception conditions.

The report points out that not all Member States conduct vulnerability assessments for asylum seekers with special reception needs. France, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania and Slovenia do not provide tailored accommodation for vulnerable persons. Austria, France, and Italy do not have standard practices in place to conduct a vulnerability assessment. For those that do, great differences exist in terms of assessment criteria, methods, timing and follow-up measures.

In a comparative overview of States’ national provisions of basic material reception facilities, which must be ‘sufficient to provide dignified living conditions’ under EU law, the study highlights disparities. For instance, the surface area of personal space in reception facilities allocated to each applicant varies from 4 square metres in Belgium and Greece to 15 square metres in Sweden. The number of applicants per member of staff varies from 11-13 persons in Finland to 170 persons in Austria.

The study also compares national rules on reduction or withdrawal of reception conditions and explores the ways that different States deal with unexpected numbers of asylum applicants.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 14 February 2014
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