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Belgium may send asylum-seekers back to Greece
Belgium will soon be able to send back migrants who applied for asylum in Belgium but entered the Schengen area through Greece, following an agreement between the secretary of state for migration Theo Francken and the Greek minister for migration, according to De Morgen.
Greece is prepared to apply the so-called Dublin Convention to Belgium, requiring asylum-seekers to apply for asylum in the first European country in which they set foot. Greece, where in 2016 more than 170,000 migrants and refugees landed in crowded boats, has so far refused to 'take back' any asylum-seekers. That is about to change for Belgium, as it becomes the first EU member state to apply the scheme.
Francken is calling the agreement “a breakthrough”. Of the 9,342 people who filed an asylum application in Belgium this year, at least 553 entered the Schengen area through Greece. Not all of these will be sent back, however, as the agreement only applies to asylum-seekers who came to Belgium after 15 March.