“Europe's weakness should not serve as an excuse for Belgium to do nothing"

The Belgian Asylum Secretary Theo Francken has called on municipalities to take in extra refugees from Syria. Belgium has plans to welcome an additional 500 refugees currently stuck in refugee camps.

The Flemish nationalist politician insists that taking in additional Syrian refugees will discourage refugees from trying their chances by attempting to cross the Mediterranean by boat further fuelling the refugees crisis in that area.

In his search for extra places Mr Francken is writing to al Belgian municipalities: "We have noticed that many municipalities are willing to make a contribution and take in Syrian refugees. As we are doubling our intake to 550 we will need extra places. If a municipality is able to take in a Syrian family, we would welcome this news with open arms."

Mr Francken has failed to impress the opposition greens though. Lawmaker Wouter De Vriendt: "The secretary of state wants to increase the intake to 550. A country like Turkey has taken in 1.7 million people."

"We should not exaggerate and take account of what our country can bear. We can't solve everything alone, but Europe's weakness should not serve as an excuse for Belgium to do nothing."