At the end of August, Secretary of State De Moor issued instructions that unmarried male asylum seekers would not be provided with shelter at this time. There has been a shortage of places at the federal reception agency Fedasil for several months due to the large influx of asylum seekers in almost all parts of Western Europe.
But these instructions became worse among the Green Coalition partners, especially after the State Council canceled the instructions. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo amended the call after a meeting of the Nuclear Cabinet and stressed that the government was “doing everything it can to respect the law.” The government then approved the winter plan and began looking for additional places.
During the budget debate in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, Dieter van Bessian (Green) briefly returned to the issue and the fact that “government policy has changed”. N-VA member Theo Franken and Vlaams Belang faction leader Barbara Bas then wanted to know from Prime Minister Alexander De Croo whether the instructions had already been withdrawn, but the latter only emphasized that it was government policy to “make sure there is enough space for the party.” So that “everyone gets the care they deserve”. The opposition was not happy with this. N-VA faction leader Peter De Roover spoke of an “embarrassing situation” for the government because the prime minister “cannot answer a simple yes or no question”.
According to CD&V faction leader Service Verherstraeten, the government’s ambition is “to comply with international obligations”, but at the same time “the State Council’s ruling does not create any additional premises”. “She (Secretary of State De Moor, editor) said: ‘My policy will not change, and my ambition will not change either. Accommodate everyone if possible, and if not, give priority to families with children. This seems logical to us.”
According to Open Vld MP Egbert Lakhaart, the debate belongs in any case to thematic discussions with ministers and state secretaries individually, which may be completed at some point during the night. De Roover then concluded: “Two coalition partners say the opposite, the prime minister does not answer a yes or no question, and another MP from the majority proposes to turn the debate into a moment in which no one pays attention.”
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