The fragmentation of reception conditions for asylum seekers in the European Union: Protecting fundamental rights or preventing long-term integration?
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This article investigates the unequal treatment of asylum seekers across the European Union (EU). In particular, this article explores the way in which Directive 2013/33/EU (the “Reception Conditions Directive”) itself allows for the creation of different categories of asylum seekers who enjoy variable reception conditions as a result. This runs counter the stated objective of the Reception Conditions Directive to harmonise reception conditions in the EU. The fragmented treatment of asylum seekers has become more acute with the current “refugee crisis”, which has highlighted the deficiencies inherent in the reception system created by the Reception Conditions Directive. This article hypothesises that this is caused by the underlying double objective of the EU reception system, namely, to protect the fundamental rights of asylum seekers, while preventing secondary movements within the EU. Examining both the situation at the EU level and in three EU Member States, the article shows the particular challenges of the EU reception system grappling with its seemingly irreconcilable double objective. In the end, the article concludes by pointing out the risk of dismantling asylum by giving in to migration management objectives in the current context.