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The Right to Adequate Housing for Vulnerable EU Citizens in Sweden

Grundberg, Johanna LU (2016) LAGM01 20161
Department of Law
Abstract
Sweden has seen an increased number of homeless EU citizens over the last years. There is no consensus among Swedish municipalities on how to handle the issue of housing for vulnerable EU citizens. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the right to housing and why vulnerable EU citizens cannot access the right. The issue is studied on three levels – human rights law, EU law and domestic Swedish law.

Both the ICESCR and the RESC establishes a right to housing. It has been emphasised that a minimum level of housing should be ensured for everyone, citizens as well as non-citizens. However, states frequently exclude irregular migrants. The implementation of human rights requires a state which is willing to ensure them, and it is... (More)
Sweden has seen an increased number of homeless EU citizens over the last years. There is no consensus among Swedish municipalities on how to handle the issue of housing for vulnerable EU citizens. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the right to housing and why vulnerable EU citizens cannot access the right. The issue is studied on three levels – human rights law, EU law and domestic Swedish law.

Both the ICESCR and the RESC establishes a right to housing. It has been emphasised that a minimum level of housing should be ensured for everyone, citizens as well as non-citizens. However, states frequently exclude irregular migrants. The implementation of human rights requires a state which is willing to ensure them, and it is therefore difficult for vulnerable EU citizens without a right of residence to access the right to housing. The right of residence is determined by EU law. Freedom of movement is a fundamental principle within the EU. However, Directive 2004/38/EC establishes that only workers, self-employed persons or persons with sufficient resources not to become a burden on the social assistance system have a right of residence for more than three months. Thus, the freedom of movement is not available to persons who cannot access the labour market. Many vulnerable EU citizens are of Roma origin, and there exists a widespread discrimination of Roma on the European labour market. Hence, they cannot enjoy the free movement due to discriminatory grounds. This leads to an irregular status, which leads to an inability to access human rights. Moreover, there is no right to housing within Sweden. Housing assistance is instead offered through the social assistance system. Swedish authorities have interpreted the Social Services Act to exclude vulnerable EU citizens without a right of residence from the right to social assistance.

The conclusion reached is that the reason why vulnerable EU citizens cannot access adequate housing lies within all three legal regimes. The main issue is the fact that many vulnerable EU citizens are unable to access the right of residence, since this has an impact on all three levels. The personal scope of the treaties and domestic laws is unclear and Sweden can therefore exclude irregular migrants, although it has been emphasised that everyone is entitled to at least a minimum level of housing. (Less)
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author
Grundberg, Johanna LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGM01 20161
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Public international law, EU law: Human rights, Free movement
language
English
id
8874934
date added to LUP
2016-06-07 17:01:27
date last changed
2016-08-10 12:02:57
@misc{8874934,
  abstract     = {Sweden has seen an increased number of homeless EU citizens over the last years. There is no consensus among Swedish municipalities on how to handle the issue of housing for vulnerable EU citizens. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the right to housing and why vulnerable EU citizens cannot access the right. The issue is studied on three levels – human rights law, EU law and domestic Swedish law. 

Both the ICESCR and the RESC establishes a right to housing. It has been emphasised that a minimum level of housing should be ensured for everyone, citizens as well as non-citizens. However, states frequently exclude irregular migrants. The implementation of human rights requires a state which is willing to ensure them, and it is therefore difficult for vulnerable EU citizens without a right of residence to access the right to housing. The right of residence is determined by EU law. Freedom of movement is a fundamental principle within the EU. However, Directive 2004/38/EC establishes that only workers, self-employed persons or persons with sufficient resources not to become a burden on the social assistance system have a right of residence for more than three months. Thus, the freedom of movement is not available to persons who cannot access the labour market. Many vulnerable EU citizens are of Roma origin, and there exists a widespread discrimination of Roma on the European labour market. Hence, they cannot enjoy the free movement due to discriminatory grounds. This leads to an irregular status, which leads to an inability to access human rights. Moreover, there is no right to housing within Sweden. Housing assistance is instead offered through the social assistance system. Swedish authorities have interpreted the Social Services Act to exclude vulnerable EU citizens without a right of residence from the right to social assistance. 

The conclusion reached is that the reason why vulnerable EU citizens cannot access adequate housing lies within all three legal regimes. The main issue is the fact that many vulnerable EU citizens are unable to access the right of residence, since this has an impact on all three levels. The personal scope of the treaties and domestic laws is unclear and Sweden can therefore exclude irregular migrants, although it has been emphasised that everyone is entitled to at least a minimum level of housing.},
  author       = {Grundberg, Johanna},
  keyword      = {Public international law,EU law: Human rights,Free movement},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Right to Adequate Housing for Vulnerable EU Citizens in Sweden},
  year         = {2016},
}