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'Court ruling is balancing act between legal review of rules and feasibility of reception of asylum applicants'

According to a recent court ruling, the reception of asylum applicants in the Netherlands is not in line with European requirements. The Dutch Government must take measures to amend the situation. What are the problems concerning the reception of asylum applicants and how realistic are the court’s demands?

Mark Klaassen

Refugee aid organisation VluchtelingenWerk had sued the Dutch State because the conditions in temporary reception centres do not meet the agreed standards. The court agreed with VluchtelingenWerk and the Government must now ensure that the conditions in (crisis) reception centres comply with the rules within nine months.

This looks like some kind of mediation ruling, Mark Klaassen, Associate Professor at the Europa Institute, tells Dutch news site Nu.nl. 'What the preliminary injunction judge is trying to do is a balancing act between the legal review of rules and their feasibility.’ According to Klaassen, the judge is also thinking along with the Government in the judgment. For example, that the situation in reception centres must improve within nine months. ‘That’s quite a long time. But at the same time, other things do have to change immediately.’

Whether the court's demands are feasible in practice, Klaassen cannot say. But the demands made by the court, he says, 'are not that excessive. Within nine months the requirement that a window can be opened and ensuring 4m2 of sleeping space for each person. Hardly rooms in a four-star hotel.'


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