On Wednesday, the Council of State decided to suspend a three-month ban on the reception of asylum seekers in the Flemish municipality of Jabekke. The town's mayor Frank Casteleyn (CD&V) had decided on the grounds of potential PFAS contamination on the proposed reception centre site.
In March of this year, the Federal Government announced that four reception centres would be set up in Flanders to deal with the deteriorating asylum crisis in Belgium. This would apparently also facilitate the return of those residing in Belgium 'illegally.'
But Frank Casteleyn (CD&V), the mayor of Jabbeke (one of the municipalities concerned), had opted to ban the establishment of the centre and the reception of asylum seekers in the town for a three-month period.
The municipality cited concerns that the site chosen may be contaminated with toxic PFAS chemicals, since fire-fighting exercises had been held there in previous years.
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In response, the State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor (CD&V), alongside Fedasil, turned to the Council of State, which announced on Wednesday evening that they were immediately suspending Casteleyn's ban.
The Council of State ruled that the mayor was wrong that there was no clear plan to guarantee public health and safety, as the federal ministry had committed to cleaning the site's surfaces every week.