Belgium - the EU Meeting Place

Before the European Union implements regulations on migration, details of the rules are presented during plenary sessions conducted in Brussels, Belgium.

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Belgium - the EU Meeting Place
Written by Crispin Aranda.
Updated August 14, 2016

10 Interesting Facts about Belgium- 

The European Parliament has three places of work – Brussels (Belgium), the city of Luxembourg (Luxembourg) and Strasbourg (France). Luxembourg is home to the administrative offices (the 'General Secretariat'). Meetings of the whole Parliament ('plenary sessions') take place in Strasbourg and in Brussels. Committee meetings are held in Brussels.

The European Parliament (EP) – with 751 members - is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union (EU). Together with the Council of the European Union (the Council) and the European Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU.

It has been directly elected every five years by universal suffrage since 1979 although voter turnout had been falling: below 50% since 1999 tp 42.54% in 2014.

Demographics resulting from migration policies (MPI Excerpts)

Immigrants made up almost 18 percent of the entire population in 2010. However, people without Belgian nationality represent only 10 percent of the total population because of Belgium's flexible naturalization policy which has allowed for approximately 30,000 naturalizations annually. Citizens from the 27 EU Member States make up just over half of the total foreign population in Belgium, most of which are from the EU-15 (see Table 2). The immigrant population from Italy, France, and the Netherlands constitute more than 40 percent of the total immigrant population. Moroccans make up almost 8 percent and Turkish nearly 4 percent. These numbers present a somewhat skewed picture as non-EU nationals tend to naturalize more frequently than EU nationals.

Student migration has been on the rise in Belgium and is expected to increase further. It makes up the second largest category after family migration, without taking into account humanitarian migration. Roughly 30,000 students (65 percent) of the total foreign student population in Belgium are from the European Union, and two-thirds from neighboring countries France and the Netherlands.

Family Migration. Since the Belgian government limited economic migration in 1974, family migration represents nearly half of the overall immigration to Belgium, followed by refugees and students.

As with citizenship legislation, Belgium reformed its flexible family reunification policy in 2011. The new bill introduced stricter conditions for family reunification and a stronger legal framework to combat marriage fraud. As in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, the sponsor must prove that he or she possesses sufficient and independent income (120 percent of minimum wage), housing, and health insurance. 

For the complete story from Migration Policy Institute, click the link below.

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About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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