Laurie Dieffembacq

Belgium can't manage to resettle its Syrian refugees

The Belgian asylum and migration secretary Theo Francken has put on hold a project to resettle vulnerable Syrian refugees in Belgium.  Belgium is committed to resettle 1,150 refugees, mainly from Syria, this year, but can't sort it. 

Belgium is struggling to meet its commitment because the number of asylum seekers arriving here has grown and reception centres are full.

The resettlement project is a UN initiative.  The refugees are chiefly Syrians who fled to Turkey or Syria.  Belgium now intends to take in 879 of these vulnerable refugees this year.

Theo Francken: "We have experienced an enormous upsurge in asylum applications during the past three months.  Asylum centres are full.  I was forced to keep open a number of emergency centres longer than planned.  The influx remains high.  The resettlement plan is being postponed for a month or two.  It will take place next year.  The people will come, but not this year.  It's just not possible."