Belgium returns around 100 asylum seekers to other EU countries each month

Around 100 asylum seekers leave Belgium for another EU country every month because they have already applied for asylum there, De Tijd reports on Saturday, based on figures provided by state secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor (CD&V).

In the first eight months of this year, more than 850 asylum seekers were returned from Belgium to another EU member state because they already had an asylum procedure pending there. This is a 79 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.

De Moor's office attributes this increase to the accelerated Dublin procedure and the opening of the reception centre in Zaventem, just outside Brussels. This is designed for people who have already been registered as asylum seekers in another member state but continue to Belgium.

Dublin procedure

According to the Dublin procedure, the country where an asylum seeker's fingerprints are first registered in the European database handles the asylum procedure. If a person starts a new asylum procedure in another EU country, that government can send a readmission request to the first country.

In reality, this system has not worked well for years. Many people travel to another country to start an asylum procedure. Several countries, such as Hungary and Bulgaria, refuse to cooperate or do not respond to requests to take back asylum seekers. Judges sometimes prohibit transfers to Greece because of the poor living conditions in Greek detention centres.

In terms of transfers, Belgium is doing better than other EU countries. By the end of this year, the number of transfers from the country will return to pre-Covid levels of around 1,000 people per year.



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