Belgium will “during the coming days” let in 100 asylum seekers from Greece as part of a structured European Union relocation, the Commissaire Général aux Réfugiés (the Commisioner General for Refugees) Dirk Van den Bulck indicated to the daily newspaper De Standaard. This was confirmed on Wednesday by the Office of the Secretary of State for Asylum and Immigration, Theo Francken (of the N-VA – the New Flemish Alliance).
This decision has been made independently of the agreement concluded between Europe and Turkey on March 18th. The latter provides for the return to Turkey of all individuals arriving illegally in Greece after March 20th, including Syrian asylum seekers. In return, for every Syrian sent back, another has to travel from Turkey to the EU, staying, of course, within the condition of the maximum limit of 72,000 places.
The announcement on Wednesday to allow 100 asylum seekers in, for its part, falls within the process of relocation of 100,000 refugees from Italy and Greece. These are the main points of entry to the EU for for thousands of refugees, as decided last summer by the European Commission and the European Council.
In total, 66,400 individuals will have to be relocated from Greece. The initial availability of 100 places is “an initial gesture” towards Greece,” Mr Francken’s office indicated.