Conditions in Flanders are ‘unfavourable to migrants,’ says Minister for Migration
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Conditions in Flanders are ‘unfavourable to migrants,’ says Minister for Migration

Credit: Belga

“Today, you get a feeling the conditions in Flanders are unfavourable to migrants,” said federal Asylum and Migration minister Maggie De Block (Open Vld) in an interview with La Libre Belgique on Saturday.

“For the first time, we have really been struggling to find places for asylum seekers. There was criticism in 2010 and 2011 (Balkan crisis) when we increased the number of spaces. Then people reacted when we reduced the number of spaces because they thought contact with asylum seekers was enriching. But today, you get a feeling conditions in Flanders are unfavourable to migrants. But that’s not the case everywhere,” said De Block.

She said the issue received a lot of attention during the elections and “extremist Flemish parties gained ground.” Flemish liberals say the N-VA is “mis-informing on immigration.” “They are manipulating figures, comparing apples and pears. It’s purely political.”

The Flemish nationalist party N-VA “has lost a lot of voters who have gone over to Vlaams Belang,” De Block added.

“The N-VA doesn’t go as far as Vlaams Belang but it is getting closer and closer to it,” the minister claimed. She also indicated a sort of “Vlaams Belang/N-VA alliance” had formed within Parliament.

Sarah Johansson
The Brussels Times