In 2020, trends identified in earlier years continued, with some countries embarking on significant reforms within their reception systems, including institutional reorganisation and adjustments to reception capacity. The increased centralisation and coordination of the initial reception phase continued, and more countries moved towards the establishment of arrival centres, gathering all stakeholders of the asylum and reception process in one place to facilitate the initial steps of the procedure.
The phenomenon of recognised beneficiaries of international protection or former applicants remaining in reception structures beyond the end of the asylum procedure persisted in several EU Member States. In previous years, there was a focus on the rapid inclusion of applicants into employment-related training and skills assessments and development. While this seemed to remain the main guiding principle for Member States, reduced services – including education and training – due to the COVID-19 pandemic risked that these programmes would be less effective, despite efforts by national authorities.
Some of the concerns about the conditions of reception facilities expressed by UNHCR and civil society organisations for specific countries and situations, for example in hotspots, seemed to have intensified over the year. The tragic events in the Moria camp in Lesvos sparked renewed, multilateral collaboration to improve reception conditions.