During this legislature, the new federal government will build two new asylum centers in which people without a residence permit will be locked up pending their forced expulsion. That writes the newspaper De Tijd. It would have been one of the most sensitive points of the coalition agreement.
It concerns a closed center with a capacity of 200 places in Zandvliet near Antwerp, and one with a capacity of 144 places in Jumet near Charleroi.
There are currently almost 700 places in closed asylum centers in our country. The concept of closed centers is sensitive to Ecolo, which is also part of the Vivaldi coalition. The French-speaking Greens would have been terrified of extra capacity. Moreover, Ecolo was fiercely opposed to the policy of former State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken (N-VA) for years. Nevertheless, the coalition partners have nevertheless reached an agreement on the new closed centers.
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The issue is deliberately defined vaguely in the coalition agreement. “The government provides the necessary means to provide sufficient capacity for the removal of persons in illegal residence, in good living conditions. The master plan will be improved, without deviating from the timing, to meet the needs ”, it says.
Mayors De Wever and Magnette
Actually, the current plan was already on the table in 2017. Then the government wanted to increase the number of places in closed asylum centers in our country to 1,150. The new centers in Jumet and Zandvliet were also part of the plan at the time.
Remarkable: initially the coalition partners would have agreed that Zandvliet, on the territory of Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA), will receive 144 places. That capacity is now being increased to 200. Jumet near Charleroi, where ex-formateur and PS chairman Paul Magnette is mayor, has dropped from 200 to 144 places. That switch was not established until the last night of the negotiations.