Communities consider closing motorway parking lots to tackle problem of transmigrants
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    Communities consider closing motorway parking lots to tackle problem of transmigrants


    A number of communes along the E40 motorway are considering closing down their motorway car parks at night, following incidents with transmigrants. The mayor of Jabbeke has already ordered a night-time curfew on the car park, used mainly by lorry-drivers sleeping over before crossing to the UK by ferry next morning. Mayor Daniel Vanhessche took the measure, expected to last three months at least, following a clash between two groups of transmigrants in which shots were fired.

    Transmigrants use the car parks to board lorries heading for the UK, usually at the instigation of gangs of human traffickers.

    Now Dilbeek mayor Willy Segers is considering reviving a demand made earlier this year to close the parking at Groot-Bijgaarden (photo) at night. That demand came to nothing after the commune was promised extra security from the federal traffic police and from private security firms.

    The support continues, but since the closure of the makeshift refugee camp at Calais, many transmigrants are setting their sights on the roadside communes of Flanders. “At the beginning of July our neighbouring commune of Asse and I announced that we needed more support from the federal police,” Segers said. “Something has to be done, because sooner or later the situation will get out of hand, in the worst way.”

    In Kruibeke, the authorities have taken a different tack: they will no longer interfere in the movements of transmigrants.

    Meanwhile Ostend mayor Johan Vande Lanotte has called for a new centre for transmigrants at Jabbeke is plans to re-open the Ostend-Ramsgate ferry go ahead. Vande Lanotte was in the UK last week to discuss the situation with ferry management. Such a ferry would be a magnet for transmigrants aiming for the UK.

    The centre would be installed in a former police building along the E40, and would involve police, magistrates and employees of the Office for Foreigners in registering and checking transmigrants.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times