Belgium Will Receive 150 Refugees and Asylum Seekers from Greece

Αssociated Press

Migrants stand in a queue to embark a ferry upon their depart from Lesbos island for mainland Greece, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Panagiotis Balaskas)

ATHENS -- Belgium has confirmed its intention to accept 150 refugees and asylum-seekers from Greece in a teleconference between Alternate Migration and Asylum Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos and Belgian Secretary of State for Migration Sammy Mahdi.

According to a foreign ministry's statement on Wednesday, the digital meeting confirmed the intention of the new Belgian government to honour the commitment made in a meeting between Koumoutsakos and Mahdi's predecessor last September in Brussels.

The teleconference set a goal for the first group to arrive in Belgium by the end of the year.

According to the statement, the two ministers discussed the future of the European Asylum and Migration Policy in the light of the ongoing negotiations on a new European Pact. "Both countries agree that ad hoc measures, after any crisis, cannot be sustainable in the long run. Only a comprehensive approach at a European level can offer a structural solution. A first step would be to clearly record the effort made by each member-state and to agree on an objective criteria-based weighting mechanism that each member state can shoulder within the framework of the principles of fairly sharing responsibilities," the statement said.

Koumoutsakos also spoke on the phone with the Executive Director of the European Asylum Support Service (EASO), Nina Gregory, with whom he discussed the further strengthening of the support that EASO offers to the Greek Asylum Service, as well as issues on the EU Migration and Asylum Pact.