The N-VA fears an increase in illegal transmigrants going to Zeebrugge

23 November 2021
haven Zeebrugge

“This is in no way good for our port, the engine of our economy, and for the people of Zeebrugge. So we must absolutely avoid this.” MP Theo Francken and Flemish MP Maaike De Vreese fear that more illegal transmigrants will go to West Flanders and the port of Zeebrugge. This is due to the French efforts in the fight against illegal transmigration to the United Kingdom.

Since September, 22,000 illegal transmigrants have already tried to make the crossing to the United Kingdom in small boats. The vast majority did so from French territory. France is therefore investing heavily in equipment to combat illegal immigration across the Channel.

French-British agreement of EUR 62.7 million

France has already ordered over a hundred all-terrain vehicles and boats to monitor the French coastal strip. This is part of a major French-British agreement from July, in which the British promised EUR 62.7 million in aid to the French authorities. In the meantime, France and Belgium are calling for Frontex to be deployed on our territory to intercept the boats.

No policy is possible without effective repatriation

Theo Francken and Maaike De Vreese are calling for a comprehensive agreement between the United Kingdom and Belgium to make operational and financial efforts on an equally large scale and by so doing prevent the relocation of transmigration to West Flanders: “The Belgian government, through Secretary of State Mahdi, is refusing to prepare a bilateral agreement with the UK. He says it is a European problem and expects Frontex to come to the rescue. France has a bilateral agreement with the UK, however. It is incomprehensible that Belgium is holding that back.”

An excuse for a failing repatriation policy

“Frontex can help operationally, but without an effective repatriation policy, there will not be a deterrent effect. Secretary of State Mahdi has been investigating for months now whether to make a PCR test mandatory at the closed centres. He has been using this argument for months now as an excuse for the failing repatriation policy. It is time to get serious,” Theo Francken and Maaike De Vreese conclude.

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