- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
Asylum applications reach highest point in 2.5 years
The month of October saw 2,750 requests for asylum in Belgium, nearly 20% more than the month before and more than 50% more than October of last year. This autumn’s figures are the first time in 2.5 years that the number of applications reached over 2,000 per month.
State migration secretary Theo Francken (N-VA) blames Germany for the rising numbers. The country is approving fewer applications than it had promised, and the overflow of people are crossing the border into Belgium.
“The ‘Wir schaffen das’ is still dogging us,” he told VRT. “There is a stream of people coming from Germany who were refused asylum there.”
While the number of incoming refugees is nowhere near what Belgium saw in 2015 during the crisis – when some 6,000 a month requested asylum – Francken is still convinced that too many migrants are making it to Europe’s shores. “Now Morocco to Spain is a very popular route, but also many people are moving through Italy,” he said. “I keep repeating it: Close the borders, send the boats back.”
In the meantime, 1,500 unused beds in asylum centres have opened up, and the Immigration Office in Brussels is operating seven days a week. “In other words, we’re in crisis mode,” said Francken. “And we are not taking part in the United Nations Migration Pact, which helps the most vulnerable refugees, because we simply cannot take any more.”