“The increasing number of attempts to cross the canal from our coast is a cause for concern.”

Federal Member of Parliament Jasper Bellen (Open VLD) has requested figures from Home Secretary Annelies Verlinden regarding attempts to cross the Canal from our coast.

Oftentimes, migrants from our coasts try to cross to the UK in boats. Member of Parliament Jasper Bellen (Open Vld) from Bruges questioned Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden about this.

The minister responded that a total of 14 attempts could be thwarted between 2018 and June 2021. “In 2019, there were only 1, in 2020 there were already 8 and now in the middle of 2021 there were already at least 5,” according to the Bellin report.

Meanwhile, the figure for 2021 has already gone up even more. Since the figures were published, there has been talk in the press of intercepted boats again. There were at least 89 people on one of the ships! In total, just over 350 individuals have been found from 2020 to today. In this area too, halfway through 2021, you can already talk about doubling the number of people compared to the full year 2020. There are more attempts and the boats are bigger. The most common nationality is Vietnamese.

Compared with the situation in neighboring France, the problem is still limited. There were already nearly 550 attempts by mid-June, with 4,087 people successfully completing the crossing and 5,033 having to abandon the attempt. These are hallucinatory characters.”

“But we’ve also seen an increase since 2020,” warns Jasper Bellen, who welcomes the action plan proposed by the Ministers of Justice and Interior. “There is a need to take action because the stricter measures by the French government threaten to try more migrants from our coasts. But because of the great distance to the UK, crossing from here has become much more dangerous.” “So we have to prepare for more attempts but also for more rescues, because at least 5 attempts involved drifting boats from French waters.”

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“It is important that the Federal Police and the Local Police work well together because their powers overlap here. Intensive work must also continue with France to ensure that problems on our coast remain under control and with the UK and France on coordinating (rescue) actions.”

Bellin will continue to monitor the problems on our coast at home.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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