Mutual concerns for Belgium and Australia, in particular immigration, were considered over a working lunch between the Belgian and Australian ministers for foreign affairs, Didier Reynders and Julie Bishop.
Their exchanges revolved around “global shared issues such as security, international terrorism and a thorough debate upon immigration,” Minister Reynders explained to the Belga press agency, upon coming out of the meeting.
The Liberal minister is of the opinion that it is in the interests of both parties to exchange ideas on practices around migration, especially as to how each should bear responsibility in this regard.
Mr Reynders approaches the migration phenomenon using a two-pronged approach.
On the one hand, “there are the refugees which each country should welcome in, indeed in Australia, as in Europe, Canada, and the USA (…). The majority of developed countries have a role to play in accommodating such immigrants,” he confirms.
However, on the other hand, when speaking of economic migration, the minister notes, “In Anglo-Saxon countries, there is a type of economic immigration specifically selected by the host country. In Europe, there are many difficulties which need to be worked upon in this field. I remain convinced that we will have to do so.”
The Minister thus considers that there is a two-tier discussion to undertake. “This includes the debate which is especially seen in Australia. Its facets include how to accommodate in the most open-minded way those persecuted in their home countries. There should also be discussion upon economic migration.”
He says, “We should not give out the misleading impression that we are closing borders yet refusing to stare the reality of migration in the face.”