Attempts to protect Europe’s borders are not working as evidenced by the continued influx of asylum seekers into Belgium, a populist party in the country has claimed.
Vlaams Belang, a right-wing nationalist group, made the comments following the release of the country’s migrant statistics for July 2023.
According to the official data, 2,972 people claimed asylum in Belgium last month, a figure Vlaams Belang said was similar to last year’s.
“We continue to be flooded,” Barbara Pas, the leader of the party’s Chamber of Representatives delegation, said in a statement to Brussels Signal.
She added that there appeared to be no sign of any real decrease in the number of asylum seekers coming to the country despite apparent European Union-level efforts to secure the bloc’s borders.
“Almost every structural measure to contain the inflow and increase the outflow has so far failed to materialise,” Pas said.
“The [proposed] EU Migration Pact and the migration deal with Tunisia have certainly had no impact,” she added. “On the contrary, the Migration Pact will ensure that the asylum rate will increase.”
Pas expressed concern that Belgium could once again see the number of asylum applications breach 30,000 this year, arguing that a “Fortress Europe” approach was now warranted in order to get a grip on the crisis.
Vlaams Belang is not the only party critical of the levels of mass migration into the country.
The N-VA, the populist group’s centre-right rival, has also attacked the current migration regime, blaming the Belgian Government for the asylum influx.
“Belgium is and will remain a European attraction for migration,” N-VA MP Theo Francken said, describing the country as being a “Valhalla” for asylum applicants.
He also criticised the government’s efforts at returning illegal migrants to their country of origin, saying that even after the COVID-19 crisis, deportation figures remain low.
“The vast majority of illegal migrants can therefore remain in the country, which creates a huge pull effect,” he said.
“Belgium has once again become a country of mass immigration.”