Mr Francken believes the record figure is also good news for Belgian jails where the problem of overcrowding eased somewhat as a result of the expulsions.
1,595 criminals - or 4 a day - were put on a plane bound for their home country. The number of expulsions of criminals has risen steadily over the past five years. 369 in 2011; 378 in 2012, 629 in 2013, 625 in 2014 and 1,437 in 2015. Most illegals hail from Morocco, Romania and Albania.