Frontex agents called for the reinforcement of Belgian police officers, “this text of the law above all shows failure”

Frontex agents will be able to control borders and accompany forced returns

The text, carried by Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden (CD&V) – and backed by Foreign Minister responsible for Asylum and Migration, Nicole de Moor (CD&V) – was due to be debated and then voted on in parliament this Thursday. , despite intense criticism from the associative world. So Ciré (Coordination and Initiatives for Refugees and Foreigners) says:troubled” to see Frontex at work on Belgian territory.

In particular, the association reminds that “Frontex was found responsible for “removals”, the illegal pushing out of migrant boats in the Aegean, Mediterranean and Eastern Europe. “He cooperates with the Libyan Coast Guard, which has been guilty of torture, rape, forced labor… by facilitating the detention of migrant boats.

And prevent : “Parliamentarians cannot ignore these documented facts that are public knowledge”.

Parliamentary debates began at 5:30 p.m. They promised they would be long. At the time of writing these lines were still ongoing. Faced with opposition criticism and requests for clarification from PS and Ecolo MPs, Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden (CD&V) defended her text.

Former director of Frontex, candidate for the National Assembly, against whom a complaint was filed for complicity in crimes against humanity and torture

The police don’t say no

The text of the law must specifically allow Frontex agents – there will be a maximum of 100 – to assist the federal police during its missions aimed at forced returns of people in an irregular situation in Belgium. There is also talk of allowing Frontex agents to intervene in the field themselves under certain conditions and in the presence of police officers. These could be deployed at airports, ports and Brussels-South railway station to ensure border controls.

Two months after the announcement, the situation at Gare du Midi is improving: “But in the evening we must not lie, the same unhealthy atmosphere remains”

It will make the police’s job easier for Annelies Verlinden. A view shared by Vincent Gilles, president of the SLFP Police (the country’s largest police union). According to him, Frontex will provide “some help to police zones“, which operate in areas with significant transit flows. And to give the examples of Midi and North stations in Brussels, “very attractive to illegal immigrants, and as a result have become places of insecurity despite the efforts of policing zones”.

Vincent Gilles adds that “Frontex could also be a useful support for the repatriation of illegal immigrants “for the purpose of leaving the territory” by air, as this falls within its competence and is part of the service offer”.

De Croo and Verlinden at Gare du Midi: “We must not believe that the deployment of the police will solve the problem”

Nicole de Moor sees this as another tool to increase forced returns of people illegally staying in Belgium. “We must introduce forced returns, even if this proves difficult, defends the Secretary of State. Staying in our country is subject to conditions, and if you don’t meet them, you must leave.’

Sotieta Ngo, Ciré’s director, was far from convinced by the explanation.

“Solutions That Are Not Solutions”

“The signal sent with the arrival of Frontex on Belgian soil is again the criminalization of people in an irregular situation by considering them only as a problem or a danger. criticizes Sotiet Ngo. With what result? Arrest, detention, forced return. And we go at it with a bazooka. Because planning the presence of Frontex is that.”

He continues: “And then we have to stop forcing people to believe in miracle solutions that are not miracles. Because Frontex won’t solve anything. This legal text testifies above all to political failure in the management of these files. We are suggesting here that we must be more repressive, more detaining, more expelling, but these promises will not be kept. Because we see it on the ground: spaces in closed centers are limited and implementing such a policy is costly. In addition to the cost, the will is not enough. Even someone as determined as Théo Francken had to realize this: it is not enough to say we are firing people to actually fire them. Human situations are much more complex.”

The left launched “in spite of itself”

Ciré criticizes the governmentyet it is composed of progressive forces“. “It is also the wrong signal sent on the eve of an election to further polarize public opinion on the issue.

In the heart of the deepest poverty, a stone’s throw from the Gare du Midi: “It’s this society that made us what we are”

Free however, it is learned from good sources that the management of this file in the government was not carried out in two strokes of the spoon. It would seem that the parties on the left side of the political spectrum – and which were fundamentally against the deployment of Frontex on Belgian soil – had to accept the so-calledbad business in spite of themselves”. “When the speech therapy file (on the criterion of the level of the intelligence quotient determining the payment of speech therapy sessions for children, editor’s note) found herself on the table, some, on the left, absolutely wanted to succeed and find a solution, states a well-informed source. CD&V agreed to support the text in exchange for voting from the left for the Frontex law.

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