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Parliamentary questions
15 January 2014
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL)

 Subject:  Expulsion of EU citizens from Belgium

On 10 January 2014 the Spanish press reported on statistics on EU citizens expelled from Belgium, which put Spanish citizens in third place overall. Spain's Secretary of State for Immigration and Asylum explained that these people had been expelled on the grounds of their constituting an excessive burden on Belgium's social security system.

In 2013, the Belgian Government withdrew residence permits from 2 712 people: 816 were Romanians, 393 were Bulgarians and 323 were Spaniards. In 2012 the figure was 2 407. This shows that the Belgian authorities' tendency to step up the number of expulsions is being maintained, indicating that the country is taking a progressively tougher stance on intra-EU migration. The Belgian Government may argue in the case of the Romanians and Bulgarians that these countries have not yet acceded to the Schengen area, but in the remaining cases Belgium must prove that, after the first 90 days of their stay, these EU citizens constitute an excessive burden upon the country's social security system.

At a time when implementation of the Troika's measures in Spain and other countries is causing the unemployed to move in massive numbers to countries such as Belgium, tougher controls and expulsion procedures constitute an attack upon what the European Union considers to be one of its most important freedoms. The EU authorities and national governments say EU workers must be flexible and move in search of work, casting the blame for being out of work on them for not wanting to move. However here it can be seen that once the unemployed move to another EU Member State in search of work, that Member State may then decide unilaterally to expel them. According to journalist sources, the people expelled include some who have been resident in the country for a long period of time, confirming that citizens of other EU Member States do not appear to have the same welfare rights as native-born Belgians.

Does the Commission have information regarding the reasons for the rise in the number of EU citizens expelled from Belgium? Does it consider that Belgium is complying with the directive guaranteeing free movement for EU citizens? Does it consider that Belgium is guaranteeing those EU citizens who are being expelled from the country the right to equal treatment? What non-unilateral procedures does the EU have that would allow EU citizens expelled from an EU country to appeal against this decision?

Original language of question: ESOJ C 288, 28/08/2014
Last updated: 11 February 2014Legal notice