I now pronounce you migrant and almost Belgian until, but hopefully not, some extremist temptations tear you apart.
The Belgian government has found a way to formally assimilate newcomers. According to a new proposed law, foreign men and women who choose Belgium as their new home will be required to sign a statement pledging a faithful adherence to the values of the hosting society…. in good times and bad times, in richness and poverty, in secularity and religiosity.
Breaching the pledge will severally affect their residency permit rights. In case of second thoughts, newcomers will have 30 days to think it through.
By making migrants sign this contract, authorities will try to make sure that in Belgium, newcomers do what Belgians do. That does not imply to automatically favor frites and chocolate over kebab and cous cous and having dreams in Flemish. Newcomers will have to put some efforts into learning the language, socialize with the locals, getting cozy with the social codes and behaviors, not preventing their female relatives from embracing European values and reporting to the authorities those who preach hate and lean towards radicalization. It would be desirable also not to welcome security officers seeking potential terrorists with curses, middle finger, fatwas and macumbas.
The future law will have to be voted in the Parliament. It will not apply to EU citizens and students. If the law is approved, it will be applicable by the end of the year.
Cover photo: getty/NICOLAS MAETERLINCK