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

Government agreement of 1 December 2011

Policy statements and debates

This Governmental Agreement states that immigration should be framed better and in accordance with international obligations. The government is to work towards a harmonised EU policy. The current laws are to be correctly applied and any form of abuse shall be prosecuted as of priority.

It is suggested that one single minister should coordinate all matters relating to asylum, reception and immigration. The minister will be responsible for reception, asylum, stay and return policy, and will consult with all parties involved. A yearly report will be submitted to the parliament in the interests of transparency.

The Governmental Agreement also sets out the responsibility of Belgium to offer asylum to those who have fled persecution but simultaneously points out the need for strict measures to limit the pressures for reception of asylum seekers. The government will work in cooperation with countries of origin in the organisation of discouragement campaigns to avoid the arrival of candidate refugees who have no chance to be recognised as refugees.

The Governmental Agreement pledges to do its utmost to provide a definitive response within 6 months of the submission of the asylum application and will aim for asylum procedures to be run as efficiently as possible.

In terms of commitment to resettlement, the agreement states (unofficial translation in English):

2.7.9 on page 135:

"Like other member states of the European Union, Belgium will take part together with UNHCR in programmes for return of refugees to their country of origin, integration of refugees in the first country of asylum or resettlement of refugees from countries where they are unable to stay without danger to their safety or where no long-term solution can be found."

Files attached to this content:

Government agreement of 1 December 2011 in Flemish