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Migration paints mixed fundamental rights picture across Member States

© Jasmin Merdan / Adobestock
The Agency’s latest monthly report on migration-related fundamental rights issues points to persisting concerns as well as progress across a number of EU Member States. Released on International Migrants Day on 18 December it shows that while asylum applications have fallen in some Member States, they have risen in others which continues to strain resources and have a knock-on effect on services.

Read the December 2017 monthly data collection highlights >>

Looking at the situation across 14 EU Member States, it reveals how the number of asylum applicants has dropped in Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Poland since April 2017 compared to the same period last year. However, the same cannot be said in Greece, Finland, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden where figures rose. In Slovakia the number remained a similarly low level.

This can have knock-on effects. For example, there was enough reception capacity in many Member States, such as Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Poland, Slovakia and the Netherlands. But in countries with rising applications like France, Greece and Italy, reception facilities remained overcrowded. For example, in Italy, a facility built for 540 people maximum was hosting 1,300 people.

However, even when there are low numbers of asylum seekers , issues can remain. For example, conditions in the transit zones in Hungary remained poor for asylum applicants. The actual situation is harder to ascertain due to a lack of transparency and oversight by external actors since civil society organisations and the media are banned from these transit zones.

In addition in Austria, although capacity is not such an issue, there were still not enough guardians for unaccompanied children and often they were appointed too late. There was also a case where an 11 year old refugee from Afghanistan, who was living together with his six siblings under the guardianship of his oldest brother, committed suicide. In France and the Netherlands shortcomings in support for unaccompanied children have also been highlighted.

Children continue to figure prominently in the number of migrants arriving which remains a challenge in many Member States, particularly in Greece. As of 30 November, the Greek National Centre for Social Solidarity estimates that there are some 3,300 unaccompanied children, 2,201 of which are in inadequate accommodation waiting for appropriate shelter. This points to a growing protection gap over the past months.

The European Commission asked the Agency to collect data about the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States particularly affected by large migration movements. The reports cover 14 Member States: Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

FRA has published its migration overviews since September 2015.