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Foreign Ministry says that 5,000 Belgians have already been repatriated

The Belgian Foreign Ministry says that since 18 March it has repatriated a total of 5,000 Belgians. The Belgian Foreign Minister Philippe Goffin (Francophone liberal) says that this is the biggest repatriation operation ever mounted by the Belgian Foreign Ministry. In addition to this thousands of other Belgians have been able to return home on repatriation flights organised by other European countries. 

During an online meeting of the Chamber of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Mr Goffin was questions about the COVID-19 crisis and the number of Belgians that are still stranded abroad as a result of it.

Mr Goffin gave details about the situation in Morocco and Burundi. Moroccan airspace has been closed for some time now and people with dual Belgian-Moroccan nationality are unable to return to Belgium.

Meanwhile in Burundi 37 Belgian with dual nationality were unable to board a plane back to Belgium.  

The Belgian Foreign Minister said that this was a decision taken by the authorities locally and that Morocco’s blocking the return of dual-nationals is regrettable. The Belgian and Dutch Foreign Ministries have send a letter to the Moroccan authorities voicing both countries concerns.

Mr Goffin also answered questions about aggressive behaviour encountered by European in some African countries. The Europeans are targeted as they are believed to be spreading the novel coronavirus. An example of this was a bus carrying French nationals that was pelted with stones on is way to the airport at Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Foreign Minister said that his department is monitoring the health and security situation closely and will take the necessary action if needs be.

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