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    The asylum crisis is costing Belgium 1.3 billion euros

    The cost of accommodating and helping integrate refugees has doubled in two years, De Tijd reported on Saturday.

    Although the worst of the migrant crisis has passed, the cost of accommodating more refugees will weigh heavy on Belgian finances this year and next year. The federal budget says the federal government, Flanders and Wallonia together spent 1.3 billion euros on managing asylum and immigration. This means it had doubled in two years. The budget in 2014 was 675.4 million euros; the planned budget for 2017 is a billion euros.

    The federal government alone will spend 1.13 billion on refugees in 2016. The majority of the costs will cover accommodation in asylum centres (626.3 million), healthcare for refugees (52.7 million), and finally administration and staff costs (194.6 million). 57.6 million euros will be put aside to cover the agreement with Turkey regarding refugees.

    Last year, Belgium received 35,451 asylum requests, a record (the previous one was in 2000). The federal government wants to reduce it to a maximum of 14,460 asylum requests for 2016. It plans to take into account an increase in requests and bring it up to 23,503 for 2017.

    Sarah Johansson (Source: Belga)