Fedasil regrets Theo Francken’s tweets about buying boxing gloves for reception centre
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Fedasil regrets Theo Francken’s tweets about buying boxing gloves for reception centre

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Fedasil, which handles the reception of asylum seekers in Belgium, was less than appreciative of a series of tweets made by the N-VA MP Theo Francken, criticising the purchase by the Poelkapelle Centre (West Flanders) of a number of pairs of boxing gloves.

Francken, who is the former Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, picked up on a link in the tweets posted by another web user enabling Fedasil’s invitations to tender to be viewed, along with the full name of the contact person in charge of the purchase.

Translation of Tweet: “Maggie De Block, do you think this sends a good signal to the population and asylum seekers? Teaching people fleeing from violence and fights to fight themselves? Who approved this at FedasilBelgium? Have they gone crazy there? Asking for cancellation of this order, investigation and sanctions.”

This Fedasil employee has since received threatening phone calls, according to communications director Mieke Candaele. “This is what happens when things are passed over the internet via social media without thinking,” she lamented.

Translation of Tweet: “That info including contact details has been made public by Fedasil itself at the time of the publication of the request for quotation and was posted on Twitter by journalist @thierryd. Fedasil should not be angry at me but at them. It’s a wrong and ill-considered signal.”

Translation of Tweet: “Have apologized to the employee involved. Had overlooked the fact that it had a name on it. Removed everything immediately, of course. Incomprehension about the purchase remains.”

The very thoughts of the MP calling into question the appropriateness of purchasing boxing gloves for a reception centre for asylum seekers are also simplistic, she dismisses. “There are clearly sports for asylum seekers and sports for Belgians” in the member’s view, she considers.

The minister currently responsible, Maggie De Block, asked Fedasil some time ago to counter misleading messages actively, especially those disseminated on the social networks. “But if MPs start to spread them themselves, there will be problems,” Mieke Candaele commented .

The Brussels Times

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