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    Three measures to speed up Belgium’s asylum process

    The number of requests for asylum in Belgium dropped in May. Credit: © Belga

    The council of ministers on Thursday approved three measures that will enable the asylum process to be speeded up, the Minister for Asylum, Maggie De Block, has stated.

    The reception system is reaching saturation point, the minister explained, arguing the waiting time involved in the asylum request process, aggravated by an increase in the number of requests, is too long, as is the case in the rest of Europe.

    The three new measures voted in mean that:

    Extra staff will be taken on at the Office of the Commissioner-General for Refugees (CGRA) and at the Council for Alien Law Litigation (CCE).

    All federal services are furthermore cooperating with the agencies responsible for asylum. During the last few months, sites have been made available by the state-run buildings and defence office, and Selor has speeded up recruitment procedures, etc.

    Finally, Fedasil will initiate an emergency public contract so that the private sector can also offer reception places.

    “We must respect the law, but also have a moral duty, in spite of local opposition that is more than ever fed by deliberate disinformation. I understand people’s concerns when an asylum centre suddenly opens near their homes. But everything cannot simply be resolved with a snap of the fingers,” said De Block.

    “Asylum is a complex reality that one country, big or small, is unable to control completely on its own. I continue to call for structured solutions at the European level,” the minister emphasised at a time when emotions are running high following the arson attack on an asylum seekers’ centre set to open in Bilzen.

    The Brussels Times