Belgium is aiming for a new migration pact to be ratified before its EU Council presidency stint ends, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a speech to the UN General Assembly Thursday.
In his speech, De Croo (Open VLD, Renew) touched on several key issues for the Belgian EU Presidency, including energy, the migration crisis and Ukraine.
In particular, he said he wanted to see greener industrial production – “clean production, of course, but also green chemistry, green steel production, green building sites” – which would also be one of the new priorities of the Belgian EU presidency.
The issue is all the more important to De Croo as he sees the climate crisis as the “main disruptive element in our societies”, which results in “young people fleeing their countries in droves”.
De Croo also denounced the current EU migration model, which he said was based on “luck” and “gives all the levers of control to the traffickers”.
This model benefits neither the countries of the South, which are deprived of their main economic resource, nor the European host countries, which are “faced with an influx they cannot cope with”, he added.
Because of this, De Croo is calling for a new model for migration and hopes a new migration pact will be signed under the Belgian Presidency. This pact would ensure that “every EU country does what it has to do” and that common borders are “strengthened”, he also said.
The prime minister also declared his intention to fight the leading causes of migration, namely “poverty and lack of economic opportunities”, by developing international partnerships “between Europe and the transit countries from which the partnerships originate”.
According to De Croo, such agreements make it possible to “build stronger institutions, to create rights that are the same for everyone and not just for a handful of people or the ruling class”.
“Solving the problem of migration means creating legal means to go to Europe, through talent search and education programs, to strengthen the societies of host countries,” he added.
De Croo’s position on migration is similar to that of his Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Nicole de Moor (CD&V/EPP). The latter has indicated on several occasions that she is counting on the European agreement on migration and asylum to solve the crisis.
Like most EU member states, Belgium is facing an unprecedented migratory crisis, which has accumulated over 1,100 convictions. Recently, the Belgian Council of State suspended the government’s decision not to take in single men.
(Nina Chabot | Euractiv.com)
Read more with EURACTIV
Austria’s right takes aim at plans to raise national CO2 tax