Building Knowledge for a Concerted and Sustainable Approach to Refugee Resettlement in the EU and its Member States

Belgium to start resettling refugees in 2013

Focus

ECRE members Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen and CIRE have welcomed Belgium’s decision to resettle a hundred refugees in 2013. The NGOs stressed that with this decision, Belgium is showing solidarity towards countries that are already hosting the vast majority of refugees.

Els Keytsman, Director of Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen, commented that this is hopefully the beginning of a structural engagement of Belgium towards resettlement as refugees are living under difficult circumstances, mostly in refugee camps.

Secretary of State Maggie de Block stated that these people are truly in need of help and that they are all recognized refugees who do not have the possibility to travel to the EU or anywhere else. The first four to six weeks Fedasil, the federal agency for the reception of asylum seekers in Belgium, will host the refugees in asylum centres. Later on, they will be entitled to financial support by the Public Centres for Welfare and assisted in looking for individual housing.

With this move, Belgium is signing up to the Joint EU Resettlement Programme which was adopted in March 2012 and through which the EU is financially supporting Member States to encourage them to engage in resettlement. In the past Belgium has invited refugees on an ad hoc basis twice. This time Belgium receives €6000 per resettled refugee.

80 per cent of the refugees worldwide are hosted in the region in neighbouring, often development countries. Countries such as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden already resettle refugees on a structural annual basis. However, all the EU Member States combined still resettle much less refugees than the United States, Canada and Australia. The United States alone invited more than 70.000 of the total of 98.000 refugees eligible for resettlement in 2010.

For further information:

-        ECRE Weekly Bulletin 23 March 2012, LIBE approves resettlement programme

-        ECRE Weekly Bulletin 30 March 2012, EU Resettlement Programme a fact