A dissuasion campaign for so-called “Dublin asylum seekers” will lead to nothing without a flanking policy

6 October 2021
Theo Francken

On Tuesday, the Immigration Department will start dissuasion campaigns to slow down the influx of asylum seekers in Belgium who had already applied for asylum elsewhere in Europe. The campaign comes after long insistence from the N-VA, but it will lead to nothing without a flanking policy, according to MP Theo Francken. Theo Francken therefore proposes additional measures.

For MP Theo Francken, the campaign comes not a day too soon. “Since the successful dissuasion campaigns we conducted in 2015, the Immigration Department has possessed the know-how to do this. It is vengeful that these dissuasion campaigns were stopped after my mandate. Three long years without any dissuasion whatsoever have led to the new asylum crisis we are now facing.”

Not just words, but actions as well

But they are only effective if they are also followed by a policy. So not just words, but actions as well, Theo Francken says. “Guarantee a Dublin rejection as quickly as possible and ensure that they are actually removed. Otherwise, a Facebook campaign won’t accomplish anything. The figures are really bad. Of the 3,813 positive Dublin applications last year, we were only able to remove 391. The Immigration Department were unable to return nine out of ten cases in 2020. If we look at the total number of Dublin applications, we see that there were a mere 391 removal nominations out of 6,607 Dublin cases. This is barely six percent. The Dublin return is even as good as impossible to the important country of entry and transit, Greece. In 2019, they gave only 44 positive answers to 959 Dublin applications. And then we still can’t get them sent back. These disastrous figures show that Europe’s internal migration policy is not working at all.”

On top of that, the Dublin system itself is also flawed. Return to the responsible Member State is all too often hampered by a lack of cooperation. In addition, the responsibility of that Member State will in any case lapse after at most 18 months. Many asylum seekers simply wait for that period of time before attempting a new asylum application in another country. The problem of “secondary influx” is therefore much greater than the number of electronic Dublin hits would suggest.

The bankruptcy of the Dublin system is the bankruptcy of Europe

MP Theo Francken calls the bankruptcy of the Dublin system the bankruptcy of Europe. “Rather than inventing an entirely new migration pact, we should tackle the obvious shortcomings in the Dublin system itself. The southern countries have been passing their asylum seekers on to us for years, and they are fine with it. In the case of Italy, this is also accompanied by limited border protection. Ships belonging to open-border NGOs are allowed to land illegal migrants without Schengen visas there, after which they can travel on unhindered to the richer countries in the North. This government is doing nothing at the European level to combat these disloyal practices and the legal shortcomings of the Dublin system. That urgently needs to change. The European migration chaos poses social problems for our country. The only right choice is to choose the Australian asylum model. Stop this chaos.”

How valuable did you find this article?

Enter your personal score here
The average score is