On Tuesday 22 December 2020, Luxembourg's Minister of Immigration and Asylum, Jean Asselborn, inaugurated the new first reception centre (Centre de primo-accueil) for applicants for international protection, in the presence of Maurice Bauer, alderman of the City of Luxembourg, Nadine Conrardy, member of the Solidarity department of the Luxembourg Red Cross, and several other partners of the ministry involved in the project.
The first reception centre is located in a former commercial building on Route d'Arlon in Luxembourg-Ville, which has been converted into a reception structure for newcomers. It will replace the current centre in the premises of the former Centre de Logopédie in Strassen. The new centre will welcome its first occupants in January 2021.
This centre is a reception structure where an applicant for international protection stays in principle for the first weeks after his / her arrival on Luxembourg territory. It has a maximum capacity of 251 people and offers a modern and functional layout, aimed at offering a dignified reception and improved support for applicants for international protection.
In addition to the premises reserved for the reception of applicants for international protection, the structure houses an administrative area on two floors, where there are offices of the National Reception Office (Office national de l'accueil - ONA), the Health Inspectorate, the Directorate of Immigration of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Luxembourg Red Cross, as well as a medical area.
The presence on the first reception centre site of all the players involved in the reception of applicants for international protection is expected to allow more effective and concerted collaboration. Minister Jean Asselborn noted: "This new organisation in this first reception centre will allow us to welcome people in need in better conditions, reduce waiting times and also address the different needs of these vulnerable people. Reception in general will thus be made more transparent and coherent".
The reception as well as the social and ethno-psychological support of applicants for international protection are delegated to the Luxembourg Red Cross.
Minister Jean Asselborn was delighted with the inauguration of this new first reception centre and thanked everyone involved, particularly the City of Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Red Cross and the Health Directorate. He highlighted: “Despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic, the work of welcoming applicants for international protection continues and must not be forgotten. In these difficult times, the supervision of vulnerable people must be a priority. This has been and remains the watchword for our government throughout this year and also applies to the reception policy of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs".
Regarding migration issues at the international level, Minister Jean Asselborn regretted that the European Union member states had not succeeded over the past six months in coming together to reach an agreement on a more humane European migration policy. He recalled that Luxembourg has contributed throughout 2020 to international solidarity efforts, particularly with regard to Greece. He stated: “In terms of relocation, Luxembourg committed in 2020 to relocate 25 vulnerable people - mainly unaccompanied minors and families - from refugee camps in Greece. We have accepted the care of 31 people via the Dublin procedure. In addition, since the beginning of the year, we have decided not to launch the Dublin procedure for 74 people for whom Greece would have been responsible according to the regulation in question".