Over EUR 1 million in penalty fees already for mismanagement of asylum policy, and the fees are mounting: “Mahdi’s asylum policy is a flop”

12 June 2022

Secretary of State Mahdi’s asylum policy is not working. Despite the lofty words and big promises he made when he took office to resolve the so-called “asylum chaos”, the reality on the ground after 21 months of Mahdi is dramatic.

“Even though there are 30,000 reception places and a record amount of EUR 683 million for asylum reception and tens of millions extra for the asylum services, 20,000 people are still waiting for an asylum decision, and tens, possibly hundreds of people are still sleeping on the street every day,” MP Theo Francken says.

These people go to the labour court to enforce asylum, which has happened more than a thousand times this year alone. This led to a judgement of State Secretary Mahdi’s services in 740 cases. Because the labour court can no longer handle it, this has already led to a judgement of principle, with a penalty of EUR 5,000 for each day that someone is not offered shelter. A written reply MP Darya Safai received reveals that there have already been 86 days of default since this court decision of principle of 24/1/2022 was served. The penalty Fee A fee is remuneration requested by the government for a specific service that it provides. The difference between a fee and taxes is that there is an immediate service provided in return for a fee. An example is the parking charges that the municipalities can enforce. They can carry out the collection thereof themselves, or contract this out. fee is capped at EUR 100,000. Otherwise, it would already amount to EUR 430,000.

In addition to this matter of principle, State Secretary Mahdi is in a dispute about the asylum centre in Spa. Because this municipality was already hard hit by last year’s floods and because the support base has been completely exceeded, the mayor demanded a restriction of the number of asylum beds. The court ruled in her favour, but State Secretary Mahdi refused to impose a restriction. The result was a penalty fee of EUR 10,000 per day. MP Darya Safai also requested this penalty figure. The total amount on 1/6/22: EUR 890.000, and it continues to increase by EUR 10,000 every day, which means that the amount is already EUR 960,000 today.

“In total, State Secretary Mahdi has to pay more than EUR 1 million in penalties. Just as with the number of judgements by the court and the size of his asylum budgets, the State Secretary is breaking a sad record here. His “Stop the chaos!” asylum policy was announced with much fanfare, but became a disaster. The chaos has never been greater,” say MPs Darya Safai and Theo Francken.

“We will continue to insist on our 10-point plan, but the government remains deaf to the huge problems on the ground and stubbornly continues to opt for a naive reception policy. Do as Denmark does and put all your efforts into dissuasion and the introduction of the Australian model,” the MPs conclude.

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