Asylum Secretary wants to adopt "similar asylum policy to Australia" Author: Michaël Torfs

Sun 15/04/2018 - 12:04 Michaël Torfs Asylum Secretary Theo Francken wants to transform the Belgian asylum policy system, developing it into an Australian model. He says it would limit the number of applications in Belgium, and allow Belgium to make its own choices more.

"Our present model, which starts from asylum applications by asylum seekers or people who illegally entered the country, should be replaced by an Australian model", Francken explains, "under which we only engage in a limited kind of legal migration."

It's Belgium taking the initiative then, not the asylum seekers, he says. This would allow Belgium to choose who enters the country (and not the other way around) and also "at a pace which takes into account our social system, the economic and cultural capacity." 

Francken says that Belgium would give priority to oppressed minorities like Christians in the Middle East. He also advocates more Belgian investments in conflict areas.

Francken also denies statements that "nobody ever allowed more refugees into Belgium than he did." His recent statement on Australia may be triggered by these statements. 

Francken was speaking on his own account on social media. It is not clear how much support he enjoys within his own party (the Flemish nationalist N-VA) and within the coalition government, and it's bound to clash with European regulations. But considering his popularity and the fact that the N-VA is doing very well in opinion polls, it's possible he will stay on as Asylum Secretary after next year's federal elections.