Michel: “No plans to take on migrants from processing centres”

The Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (Francophone liberal) has said that Belgium is not planning to take in asylum-seekers from so-called “migrant processing centres” in Southern Europe. The setting up of such centres was one of the measures agreed at the European summit.    

Speaking on Friday Mr Michel told journalists that "There is currently no crisis as regards the number of people coming to the EU, so there is no request to do it and it is not on the agenda”.

Mr Michel added that the Dublin Regulation needs reforming “as quickly as possible”. The Dublin states that the first EU country in which a migrant requests asylum is responsible for dealing with his/her asylum request.

The European heads of state and heads of government that were at the summit finally reached agreement on migration early on Friday. The agreement provides for the setting up of migrant processing centres in southern Europe where migrants that are rescued from the Mediterranean Sea will be taken to.

The idea is to quickly separate economic migrants from those that could be considered for asylum. Those that could be considered for asylum will them be taken to other countries that voluntarily agree to take them on.  The idea is to ease the pressure on so-called frontline states such as Italy and Greece.  

However, Mr Michel says Belgium has no plans to take on any of the asylum-seekers.  Meanwhile, the Secretary of State responsible for asylum and migration Theo Francken (Flemish nationalist) has reaffirmed that Belgium’s decision to take on 15 migrants from the NGO ship The Lifeline was a one off and the Prime Minister agrees.