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Brussels considers mandatory integration courses
The Brussels parliament today discusses the majority proposal to organise compulsory integration courses for newcomers, writes De Standaard. Flanders made the courses compulsory 13 years ago. Wallonia recently developed its own integration courses, and now the Brussels-Capital Region may follow suit, with its own integration programme for newcomers.
The initiative is a complicated one, as Brussels has the highest number of newcomers in the country. According to research, some 30,000 foreigners live in the capital who have been in Belgium for less than three years. But until recently there was no political will to standardize their integration.
That may change, as the Brussels parliament today discusses the majority proposal to require newcomers to integrate. The courses aim to introduce foreigners to the prevailing norms and values in Belgian society. Newcomers to Brussels would have to choose between the existing Dutch- or French-language integration courses on offer.
Groen MP Arnaud Verstraete proposes instead that Brussels create its own integration programme, with special attention to language, a crucial tool in the Brussels job market.