Reception conditions for asylum seekers in Norway and the EU
The asylum policies in the European Union are changing. Diverging national legislation is being coordinated and common standards are being developed. By 2010 a Common European Asyl System (CEAS) shall be in place. Significant steps have already been taken. The changes made during the next few years will lay the premises for refugee and asylum policies in Europe. Norway is a part of Europe, although not of the European Union. Formal ties through the Schengen and Dublin agreements demand that the developments in the Union are followed closely by Norwegian authorities. How the exact relationship is between the policy development within the EU and conditions in is however not clear. In this project we study this in detail using the recent EU Directive on Reception Conditions as the focal point. The study can be seen in isolation from or as related to a broad European comparative study of the EU Directive on reception conditions done by the Odysseus network of lawyers based in Brussels. Topics covered by the Directive include a regulation of how information is given to the asylum seekers, their access to employment and education, norms about the access to material conditions and health care, the use of sanctions and detention and the special attention to vulnerable groups. In addition to being politically relevant and important, this study is also a good opportunity to illuminate a series of academic questions. Handling reception of asylum seekers takes place at the meeting point of supra-national regulations, national laws and practice, and individual rights.
The main question we ask in this study is: How does the Norwegian reception system stand when compared to the EU Directive on reception conditions? Here there are two aspects that can be at least analytically distinguished: What are the juridical sources of regulation of reception conditions in and how do they correspond to the EU sources? Secondly: How do the factual reception conditions in compare to the norms of the Directive and the practice in the Member States?
In order to answer these questions we have to know the outcome of the national transposition process in the member states as well as the situation on the ground throughout the Union . Therefore we ask: To what extent has the Directive on reception conditions been transposed and implemented in the Member States? This knowledge is secured through the Odysseus comparative study. With Vevstad and Brekke, the project is headed by one lawyer and one social scientist. This mix of backgrounds stimulates the focus of the study and the following discussions in the written material.