Fedasil at risk of losing €12.5 million over failed refugee reception centre

Fedasil at risk of losing €12.5 million over failed refugee reception centre
Fedasil asylum centre director Bernard D'Hoore, Fedasil director general Michael Kegels, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, King Philippe - Filip of Belgium and State Secretary for Asylum and Migration policy Sammy Mahdi pictured during a royal visit to the former elderly home Home Sebrechts, in Brussels, Wednesday 09 March 2022. The former elderly care home Home Sebrechts in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek - Molenbeek-Saint-Jean re-opened as an emergency facility for refugees run by the Red Cross. Credit: Belga / Dirk Waem

Fedasil, the Belgian institution responsible for the reception of asylum seekers, has signed a €12.5 million lease for a building to be turned into a refugee reception centre, but a court ruling forbids the federal institution to move forward.

Fedasil is at risk of losing €12.5 million over a reception centre in Molenbeek, as the Sebrechts centre in Molenbeek can no longer function as a refugee reception centre, Bruzz reports. The reason is a court ruling following Molenbeek’s mayor Catherine Moureaux argument that there is no room for a new centre for hundreds of asylum seekers due to the socio-economic reality of Molenbeek.

The centre was originally intended as a temporary transit centre for refugees from Ukraine, but is currently used as a reception centre for refugees from all different kinds of backgrounds.

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The court ruled that the Fedasil centre in the Avenue François Sebrechts must be administratively changed within 40 days, which is deemed impossible. The centre, which is currently hosting around 400 refugees, will have to close its doors in roughly four weeks.

A hefty price tag

The closure of the centre comes at a price of €12.5 million, as a permanent 11-year-long lease was signed with the real estate fund Cofinimmo. The annual rent of the building amounts to €1,141,000.

According to the judge’s ruling, Fedasil will remain the owner of the building until 2032, but the institution cannot set up a refugee reception centre. The agency is currently investigating “what action we can give to the verdict”.


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