Fact-finding visits

Reports of ECRE country missions

AIDA fact-finding visits have been developed as a focused approach to addressing particular challenges relating to asylum in specific countries covered by the database. Through the direct presence of ECRE and relevant partners in the countries concerned, these visits collect information from the field support the broader country information process by providing targeted research.

Here you can find links to the reports of country missions conducted in the framework of AIDA:


This report contains the findings of a visit to Croatia conducted by ECRE between 28 November and 1 December 2016, focusing on access to protection and Dublin returns of asylum seekers to Croatia following the closure of the Western Balkan route. ECRE recommends European countries not to conduct Dublin procedures in respect of persons who entered Croatia before the closure of the Balkan route as their entry does not straightforwardly fall within any of the criteria provided by the Dublin III Regulation, and to honour in good faith their agreed commitments to facilitate orderly transit until the closure of the route. European countries should also refrain from transferring persons, including vulnerable groups, to Croatia without having obtained individual guarantees on their access to appropriate and adapted reception conditions upon return.

The report, which follows a field visit to the country together with the AIRE Centre between 28 May and 6 June, emphasises the need for international organisations to be mindful of the long present efforts of Greek lawyers and NGOs in the field, and recommends that new initiatives should be targeted and sustainable. Persisting challenges impede access to asylum in Greece due to complexity and layers of procedure. If the procedure is not streamlined, the registration simplified and the capacity of the Asylum Service expanded, effective access to asylum will continue to be obstructed. The lack of legal routes for people to move beyond Greece is also highlighted as an area where stronger legal support and advocacy is needed in other European countries.

This report, issued following a visit to Austria at the beginning of December 2015, finds severe restrictions on asylum seekers’ access to the procedure, stemming from severe delays in even the first stages of registration as well as from the legal formalities attached to registration, which may often not be completed if there is no reception place available for the applicant. Additionally, the use of Dublin procedures, even where there is no prospect of transferring a person to another country, further impedes access to the Austrian asylum process, while people may wait for over a year for a substantive decision by the asylum authority on their claim. This state of legal limbo is coupled with an escalating phenomenon of homelessness or inadequate accommodation, thereby running the risk of making destitution part of the asylum system itself.

This report contains the findings of a visit to Hungary conducted by ECRE at the end of September 2015, which focused on the new border procedure applied in the Röszke transit zone at the Serbian border, as well as issues around the criminalisation of irregular entry and asylum detention. ECRE urges the Hungarian authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure full compliance with their obligations under international refugee law and to end the detention of asylum seekers. Moreover, in view of the automatic and retroactive application of the “safe third country” concept, ECRE recommends that Member States do not transfer applicants for international protection to Hungary under the Dublin Regulation.

This report documents the findings of a visit to the Fylakio First Reception Centre (Evros, Greece) conducted by ECRE in December 2014. It expresses concerns over the deprivation of liberty of persons transferred to the centre, which results de facto in a state of detention, as well as the lack of available places for vulnerable asylum seekers such as unaccompanied children. In addition to increased capacity in open reception accommodation and suitable accommodation for unaccompanied children, amongst other recommendations, ECRE calls on the competent Greek authorities to stop the detention of unaccompanied children and other vulnerable groups, evaluate and strengthen age assessment procedures at the First Reception Centre and take the necessary measures to ensure swift registration of asylum applications in the Centre.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti