Asylum and Migration secretary calls for joint missions to countries of origin

Belgium is exploring a new approach to repatriating rejected asylum seekers. State secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor has proposed joint missions to countries of origin to improve cooperation and address the challenges of returning rejected asylum seekers.

In a speech to the diplomatic corps at the Egmont Palace in Brussels, De Moor discussed Belgium's return policy and the challenges it faces. She raised the issue of cooperation with countries of origin, especially those that are reluctant to take back their nationals. After the 17 October attack in Brussels in which two Swedes were killed by a rejected Tunisian asylum seeker, the issue was once again high on the government's agenda.

"If I have to travel to North African countries to ask for their citizens to be readmitted, I, like my predecessors, will often return empty-handed," De Moor said.

"Most of them do not want to take back people, especially those with a criminal record. That is why I have proposed to organise joint missions to these countries in the future. This is not about reducing our development cooperation, but about sending a signal that our relationship with these countries is a whole and that we expect cooperation from them in terms of return."

These joint missions, she said, should involve all levels of government - federal and regional - to present a unified approach.


State secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM

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