Prime Minister Charles Michel said on Thursday that an animated cartoon depicting Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken, as a deporter of illegal African migrants, and which the Secretary of State had shared and dubbed amusing in a tweet, was “not funny” and “not acceptable”. Responding at a plenary session of Parliament to a question by Veronique Caprasse (DéFI Party), Michel described the cartoon as a parody of government action to which Mr. Francken reacted by laughing at himself. “Seeing the emerging controversy, I asked him to withdraw his tweet, which Mr. Francken had already done,” the Prime Minister said.
He said his team was totally dedicated to the fight against racism, as evidenced by the action advocated at the debate on refugees held on the margin of the UN General Assembly, by the Prime Minister himself, Foreign Minister Didier Reynders and Cooperation Minister Alexander De Croo, along with Francken, who had shown commitment “around the clock” at the height of the asylum crisis.
Recalling previous actions by Mr. Francken, DéFI’s Caprasse said she was disappointed by the response of the Prime Minister who, she felt, seemed to minimize the incident. “In another European country, that lapse would have been described as an extreme right-wing action,” she said.