"Abolish double nationality for Belgian nationals of foreign descent" Author: Michaël Torfs

Belga
Mon 17/04/2017 - 10:43 Michaël Torfs The Flemish Christian democrat lawmaker Hendrik Bogaert told VRT News that he wants to get rid of the double nationality for people of foreign descent living in Belgium - including Belgian Turks - as it turns out that an overwhelming majority votes "yes" in the Turkish referendum about more powers for President Erdogan. "In the long run, they are more involved in foreign politics than in Belgian politics." The State Secretary for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken of the Flemish nationalist N-VA, seems to agree: "Okay, let's do it" he tweeted.

Nowhere in Europe did the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan obtain a bigger margin of yes-voters than in Belgium, where he enjoyed on overwhelming win of 75 percent. That's a pity, says Hendrik Bogaert, a lawmaker for CD&V in federal parliament.

"I am a democrat and I will respect the outcome. I am not saying people cast the wrong vote, but I think we have learned a couple of things during the campaign. We wake up today with an autocratic regime next door. We can't just pretend nothing has happened", Bogaert says.

"No more double passports for foreigners from outside the EU"

Bogaert proposes to abolish the double nationality many people of foreign descent in Belgium - including Turks living here - are enjoying. "This double passport is not good for integration. In the long run, people are more involved with foreign than with Belgian politics."

It's difficult to draw a line, but Bogaert advocates an abolishment for people combining a Belgian passport with one from outside the EU. Immigrants from within the EU would not be affected, but other nationals, such as Belgian Americans, Belgian Brits (after Brexit) or Belgian Moroccans or Turks, would.

However, people who would be affected, needn't worry just yet: changing the regulations in Belgium could be difficult from a judicial point of view, Bogaert realises. He thinks this should be done on a European level. But the debate has started.

"Okay, let's do it"

Asylum Secretary Theo Francken is giving Bogaert's proposal thumbs up. "Okay, let's do it", he tweeted in response to his CD&V colleague. The N-VA, the biggest political block in Flanders, is in favour.

The Flemish liberal lawmaker Ann Brusseel also wants a debate on double nationalities after the referendum. "I understand people want to have different nationalities as they feel they don't belong to one country only. But this may have political implications, as we see now. I can't accept that EU citizens in Belgium are giving their political support to a dangerous dictator at Europe's outside borders."