Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor has appointed Sophie Van Balberghe as the new Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS). The Council of Ministers approved her appointment today.
During her entire career, Sophie Van Balberghe has worked in the field of asylum and migration. She started her career as a protection officer and supervisor at the CGRS, where she processed refugee cases for 7 years. At Fedasil, she was the deputy director of the legal service for more than 4 years. In 2011 she returned to the CGRS, where she was deputy commissioner general for the past 10 years.
Sophie Van Balberghe holds a master's degree in law and studied at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL). She also graduated in human rights.
Nicole de Moor: “Ms. Van Balberghe is well versed in our asylum services. She has a tough challenge ahead of her to reduce the caseload. She is an expert in her field and is very committed to the organization. In the coming years she will be a partner to help shape the structural reforms that asylum and migration policy needs.”
Sophie Van Balberghe: “It is an honor for me to be appointed Commissioner General. I thank Secretary of State Nicole De Moor and the Council of Ministers for the confidence they place in me. I also wish to thank Dirk Van den Bulck, whom I succeed, for the productive collaboration over the past 10 years. Together with my deputy Christophe Hessels and all the CGRS staff, I fully commit myself to the challenge to lead and implement the structural changes necessary to continue ensuring the sustainability of the asylum system and our protection mission.”
Dirk Van den Bulck: “Over the past years, I have come to know Sophie Van Balberghe as a very strong support in developing the CGRS into a solid system in order to fulfill our mission of giving protection to all those in need of it. She has been an expert on asylum for many years. This is common knowledge. Above all, I have come to know her as someone with a strong and engaging personality, who can develop a vision and a policy based on that vision, who can lead and manage a team and an organization, who can direct projects, who is constantly looking for improvement and is not afraid of change... She is a guarantee for the future of the CGRS.”
Current Commissioner General Dirk Van den Bulck had his last working day on 31 March. He retires after 18 years as Commissioner General at the CGRS.
Nicole de Moor: "Time to say goodbye to a monument within the migration department. Commissioner General for 18 years: always busy, always nuanced, always looking for solutions. Thanks for everything you meant for asylum law, Dirk.”