Hosting asylum seekers in hotel rooms is not the answer, says De Croo

Hosting asylum seekers in hotel rooms is not the answer, says De Croo
Asylum seekers wait outside the headquarters of the Fedasil Federal Agency For The Reception Of Asylum Seekers in Brussels, Monday 29 August 2022. BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND

Hosting asylum seekers in hotel rooms is not a structural solution, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) said on Friday in reaction to a proposal by the Greens.

The Greens, who are also part of the Federal Government, had argued on Thursday in favour of housing vulnerable asylum seekers in hotels. However, this “isn’t a good solution for several reasons,” the Prime Minister said on De Afspraak TV programme on Friday.

The Federal Government's core cabinet decided on Friday to deploy 150 staff members from federal services to increase reception capacity for asylum seekers. “With about 70 people you can free up about 1,500 places,” De Croo calculated.

However, he explained that finding staff is not so simple. On whether engaging military assistance could be an option, the Prime Minister said this would be difficult and not the preferred way to go forward. Moreover, the asylum seekers are often people who have experienced terrible things, he pointed out. This means that their requirements are more than simply food and shelter, with medical and psychological support often of great need.

Regarding the proposal to house refugees in hotel rooms, De Croo said: “I know a number of NGOs have done so in an emergency, but it is not a solution, and they did it without the approval of the office of State Secretary for Asylum and Migration", a position currently held by Nicole de Moor (CD&V).

“We are currently in a refugee crisis but less attention is being paid to it because there are now two to three other crises,” De Croo added.

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