Preventing Children from Ending Up on the Streets: Belgium’s Efforts towards Improved Asylum and Migration Policies

2023-08-29 17:01:00

Behind this decision, the Secretary of State intends to anticipate “the growing influx of families and children to absolutely prevent children from ending up on the streets in winter”.

“Not wanting to be late to the events, I am already taking the decision to reserve all available places for families with children”, explains Ms. de Moor, quoted in the press release. “The high number of asylum seekers who have arrived in our country over the past two years still weighs on the reception network. We continue to open new centres, but everyone has seen last year how difficult it is to create reception places. I absolutely want to prevent children from ending up on the street.”

The Secretary of State also underlines the fact that Belgium “has been doing more than its share for a long time”, specifying that this year, “19,000 asylum seekers have registered in Belgium, compared to 1,500 in Portugal, a country whose population is similar to that of Belgium”.

The Secretary of State says she is working with her European colleagues on a pact on migration which will fundamentally reform European policy on asylum and migration and which, in the long term and still according to her, must also make it possible to improve the situation in Belgium. “The pact will include a rapid procedure at the external borders and a fairer distribution of asylum seekers in Europe,” the statement read. But Ms de Moor and her cabinet stress that these measures take time and will not bear fruit immediately.

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“What a painful failure!”

Theo Francken, N-VA MP has already castigated this decision by the Secretary of State. “My daily quota for granting asylum has not been authorized, but single men are no longer welcomed. What’s the difference?” asks the Flemish politician. According to him, this “progressive vision” comes too late. “In the meantime, the humane narrative of the De Croo government’s asylum policy has resulted in thousands of convictions, dozens of squats, mind-blowing fines and a long waiting list […] What a painful failure!”

Nicole de Moor: “We are not pursuing an anti-migrant policy!”
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