Nicole De Moor: “Spreading plan or no plan is not a very useful threat”

© BELGA

State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor (cd&v) rejects the request of the ruling party Groen to introduce a local distribution plan for the reception of asylum seekers. “Speaking about ‘a distribution plan or no plan’ seems to me to be an unhelpful threat to get asylum seekers off the street,” she says in response to the demarche of Groen chairman Jeremie Vaneeckhout. De Moor calls on her colleagues to help realize the emergency shelter that the Crisis Center coordinates.

Source: BELGA

Vaneeckhout launched his call for a distribution plan in the Mediahuis newspapers on Monday. “We don’t intend to wait for someone to die on the street here,” he said. De Moor responded immediately that she was not considering such a distribution plan.

“I think it is inappropriate for the federal government to hand over its tasks to the cities and municipalities. Placing problems on local authorities is not a solution,” she says in an additional press release. According to the State Secretary, local authorities are already under pressure. “Announcing an obligation tomorrow means that some municipalities with the best will in the world will not be able to implement this. This would also only provide places in a few months, while we now urgently need emergency shelter to keep families with children off the streets.” De Moor believes that each local authority should be able to assess its own possibilities.

De Moor denies that a mandatory dispersal plan has already been activated in the past, “just because those places are not a crisis instrument”. Moreover, she believes it is intellectually dishonest to compare the Belgian reception system with that of the Netherlands. “After all, the recognized refugees are in the reception until they are allocated a home by municipalities. That is not the case in Belgium.”

De Moor also points out that the reception network currently has 32,000 permanent places. “For comparison: in the crisis year 2015 there were 33,400 places, half of which consisted of emergency capacity. For the time being, those were not structural places.”

But in addition to increasing the number of reception places, the influx must also be tackled, says De Moor. That is why she is currently on a “prevention mission” in Congo, which has emerged in recent months in the top 10 countries from which the most asylum applications are made.

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