Reception crisis: Judge allows confiscation of Fedasil's belongings
A bailiff is allowed to seize and sell belongings of the federal agency for the reception of asylum seekers Fedasil. This was decided by the French-speaking court of first instance in Brussels, La Libre Belgique wrote on Friday.
Fedasil has already been convicted more than 1,000 times for failing to provide legally guaranteed asylum reception by the federal agency. In response, the Brussels court imposes penalty payments for every day it fails to do so.
In such cases, Fedasil tries to find accommodation for the asylum seekers concerned as quickly as possible to avoid having to pay those penalty payments effectively. Nevertheless, at the moment, the total sum of penalty payments imposed is already estimated to be in the millions.
Unpaid penalty payments
In two cases, the unpaid penalty payments amounted to about 13,000 euros and 100,000 euros, which Fedasil says it cannot pay. In response, a bailiff was sent to the agency to draw up a list of goods that will be seized for public sale in February. These include furniture and a television.
The agency had lodged a protest against the confiscations, but a Brussels judge rejected it early this week. As a result, Fedasil is now examining possible next steps and stressed that only goods would be seized at Fedasil's headquarters, not at the shelters.
"Confiscations don't solve anything. They do not provide any additional reception places"
Authorised State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor (CD&V) regrets the confiscations. "Confiscations don't solve anything. They do not provide any additional reception places. Fedasil has already created thousands of reception places, and we will continue to do so: another 1,000 extra places are planned in January too. But Fedasil must, of course, be able to continue its work. That would be very difficult, should computers or furniture be confiscated. So that does not bring us any closer to a solution."
"I am making every effort to avoid paying penalty payments," De Moor stressed. "We are talking about large sums of money, and I think we can better use that money to create shelters." There is also no political unwillingness to create shelters, she stresses. "But the challenge is huge, and we cannot solve it without structural reforms. Confiscations cannot do that either", she concluded.
Illustration picture shows a squat in the Paleizenstraat - Rue des Paleis, in Schaarbeek - Schaerbeek, Brussels, Tuesday 17 January 2023. The squat has been occupied for several months now by several hundred homeless people, asylum seekers and people in illegal residence, including unaccompanied minors. A few weeks ago, Croix-Rouge de
Belgique, the French-speaking department of the Red Cross, opened a mobile emergency clinic at the building. Doctors have already identified several cases of tuberculosis, as well as worrying cases of cutaneous diphtheria and a very high spread of scabies. At the request of State Secretary for Asylum and Migration De Moor, a mobile team from Fedasil was sent to identify asylum seekers and transfer them to designated
reception centers. Yet there are still hundreds of people who have no other option.
© BELGA PHOTO JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE