After a year of mass immigration that culminated in the Brussels terror attacks in March, just one in 10 Belgians think migrants are beneficial to their society.
An Ipsos poll for broadcaster RTL and newspaper Le Soir found that only 10 per cent have a positive view of migrants, believing them to be “too numerous and a source of difficulties”.
Some 60 per cent also believe there are too many immigrants in Belgium, a number than has been consistently high for the past five years.
“I think the numbers were already fundamentally very negative,” said Jean-Michel Lebrun of Ipsos, adding: “58 per cent of Belgians in particular think that immigration puts public services under pressure. These are the numbers that are very negative.”
Over 30 people died in three coordinated suicide bombings in March this year, when jihadists targeted the departure hall of Brussels Airport and Maalbeek metro station in the centre of the city.
Subsequent investigations revealed the perpetrators were part of the same terror cell that had been involved in last November’s Paris terror attacks.
In June, Belgian intelligence said another attack was highly likely as jihadists who had been fighting in Syrian returned home.
The Belgian anti-terrorist organisation Coordination Body for Threat Analysis (OCAM) raised the terror threat level to “3 serious” and threatened to cancel major events in the Belgian capital due to the severity of the threat.
Belgian security services have received a considerable amount of criticism in dealing with intelligence on terror threats. Critics accused them of refusing to take key information seriously, including information that may have led to the arrest of one of the Paris attackers last year.
There was also a great deal of public anger after reports came out that the Brussels airport was revealed to employ over 50 known radical Islamists.