Survival of a government, survival of undocumented migrants

The previous federal government came across the “migration” issue; the current threatens to implode on the same issue. The comparison stops there, even if the political line has not changed since. On this subject, the latest government statement is in line with the Di Rupo and Michel governments. The moods in addition, perhaps.


All the government partners repeat with more or less force that there is no question of collective regularization, which is what the 400 or so “undocumented” people who have been on hunger strike for almost two months are asking for!

Pressure from the PS and ECOLO: the Prime Minister must regain control and in the event of the death of a hunger striker, the socialist and environmental ministers will resign within the hour! The political crisis is threatening. Even if after this heat stroke, both Paul Magnette (PS) and Jean-Marc Nollet (ECOLO) relativize. Now, the two presidents say they see overtures in the appointment of a special envoy (who will have stayed only two big minutes in the company of the strikers) and keep their confidence in Sammy Mahdi, the secretary of state they were trying to protect. ‘set aside 24 hours earlier.

Put up to the wall, taken aback, the Prime Minister could only recall the urgency of the hour (health crisis, unprecedented natural disaster) and not publicly disavow a majority partner (the CD&V), especially that the Flemish perception of the situation diverges from the French-speaking reality. The Vlaams Belang haunts the spirits.

A solution without a solution

The fact remains that the government remains suspended from the ecological-socialist ultimatum.

It is true that in the absence of clear and precise legislation on the issue of regularization, there remains a certain room for maneuver. As in previous crises in this area, Belgium will once again be content with “circumstantial tinkering”. The Flemish Socialist Vice-First (we will note the SP.A does not follow the PS on the resignation) Frank Vandenbroucke, who has known others, recalls: the legal framework allows quite a few tailor-made solutions.

The solution, if it comes before the death of a striker, will therefore again only be one-off. Until the next crisis, the next hunger strike.

Belgium is home to 150,000 undocumented migrants, sometimes present in the territory for many years, educating children born here, working in companies.

For 20 years, the various governments have only been able to confirm the profound divergence between the French-speaking (except MR) and Flemish parties on the issue. Between a pragmatic approach that would confirm a state of affairs (the presence of migrants, playing an economic role) while avoiding mentioning forced returns on the one hand and a desire not to encourage illegality, to strictly supervise, even if it means not being able to control the flows.

It should be noted that there is also no question of establishing clear criteria which would make regularizations no longer a discretionary favor but an automatic right, for fear of an influx of migrants.

Finally, there is also the weight of opinion on both sides of the linguistic border: Maggie De Block and Theo Francken have forged a scathing popularity for themselves with a firm speech. Without this benefiting their political training.

From uncertainties to non-decisions, the sans-papiers will remain without a solution.


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