Belgium strengthens police border controls with France

Today Interior Minister Jan Jambon announced the Belgian government's decision to patrol the border with France until 23 March 2016, alleging a surge in arrivals caused by the closure of the refugee camp known as the "Jungle" in Calais.

After France’s decision to dismantle parts of the makeshift refugee camp known as the “Calais Jungle", Belgian officers have stopped migrants who had fled the camp and entered Belgium, including groups of up to 80 people. In this context, the government has decided to put in place stronger border controls, in order to avoid makeshift camps popping up in the coastal region.

250 to 290 police officers are tasked to patrol the border along key strategic smuggling routes. They are requested to bring transit migrants to a processing centre from the Immigration Office where they receive the order to leave the country immediately and to transfer migrants back to the border. "These precautionary measures are necessary in order to maintain order" concludes Jambon minister. Find additional information on Jan Jambon web page.

Belgium is the seventh country to request the temporary suspension of Schengen rules over the past few months, after Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and Norway. Please read additional information on notifications of the Temporary Reintroduction of Border Control.

The EU’s commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, sent a letter to Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel and Interior Minister Jan Jambon, questioning the Belgians’ decision to police borders up until March 23 — and potentially longer. “The reintroduction of internal border control…requires a notification to the Commission and member states before the planned reintroduction,” the migration commissioner wrote, pointing to articles 23 and 24 of the Schengen agreement as a legal basis. If Belgium wants to patrol the border immediately as an emergency measure, it can do so for 10 days under article 25 of the Schengen agreement, the commissioner said. “I invite you to fulfill a notification according to article 25 without delay,” the commissioner wrote. “I invite you to explain the nature of the serious threat…and to provide figures or information demonstrating the necessity and proportionality of this decision.” Read more about this on "Commission challenges Belgium's French border move".

Publication Date: Tue 23 Feb 2016
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