"Visa-free travel between Belgium and the U.S. under pressure" Author: Michaël Torfs

Belga
Sat 11/02/2017 - 10:39 Michaël Torfs "It will not be obvious to maintain the present system under which Belgian citizens can mostly travel to the United States without a visa", the Belgian State Secretary for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken (N-VA), is quoted as saying in De Tijd.

"The Americans are not entirely happy with the amount of information they receive from us. They see Belgium as 'hellhole Brussels'", Francken told De Tijd. "We have been given 3 months to prove we can meet the demands." Francken's words are confirmed by other ministers. "The United States have put forward new demands to have the present system of visa-free travel continued."

Belgian diplomats are said to be "concerned" about the situation. They think the U.S. will scrutinize the Belgian report. American security services are afraid that terrorists could merge with regular Belgian travellers to get into the U.S., after the Paris and Brussels attacks.

The U.S. is evaluating things every two years. An American delegation visited Belgium last November, and will draw up a report about the Belgian situation. This is expected to be presented in Congress next month.

President Trump's harsh stand on immigration issues, is making Belgian politicians nervous, it can be heard. Francken said that "Interior Minister Jan Jambon has promised the U.S. to exchange more information."