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    3,250 extra asylum spaces to be created in Belgium

    The action plan drawn up by minister Maggie De Block (Open Vld), the follow-up to Theo Francken’s (N-VA) plan “to take back control of the asylum problem,” was approved by the Minister’s Council on Friday. It includes the creation of 3,250 extra asylum spaces and an 87-million-euro budget. 

    The action plan is made up of several measures, one of which is the creation of 3,250 extra asylum spaces. “When I took up my position in December, I requested that an action plan be drawn up very quickly. Thanks to these measures, we will quickly and efficiently respond to the increasing amount of asylum requests we have been receiving since last summer,” said Maggie De Block. 

    “We will allow people who are requesting international protection from Belgium to live here comfortably while they are waiting for a decision about their asylum request to be made. This way, we can also fulfil our United Nations Refugee Agency commitments by taking in Syrian refugees,” she added. 

    The plan also includes extra manpower for the Foreigners office and the General Refugees and Expatriates Commission, through the recruitment of 90 extra staff. 

    It will also fulfil two promises made in October: the creation of 1,500 stop-gap positions which will remain empty for now but could be filled if needed and a suspension in removing refugee spaces. This was all promised by the Michel government in 2018. 

    Jason Bennett 
    The Brussels Times