Netherlands

VVD calls for ‘mini-Schengen zone’ to better control borders

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Netherlands should have more powers to close its own borders when confronted with a large group of ‘migrants’ and, better still, should work with its neighbouring countries in a sort of mini Schengen zone to monitor border traffic, according to VVD parliamentarian Bente Becker.

Becker, the party’s parliamentary spokeswoman on immigration and asylum, says in an opinion piece in the AD newspaper that the ‘risk to the Netherlands is great’ if a large number of migrants move here at times of crisis.

And while new European policy on dealing with refugees is currently being worked out, the Netherlands should be ready ‘to keep a grip’ on the situation, Becker said.

French president Emmanuel Macron has already indicated that France would consider establishing a mini Schengen, or open border area, if the number of migrants reached ‘uncontrollable’ levels. Macron made the comment after it emerged that the 21-year-old Tunisian who killed two people in Nice had travelled to France via Italy.

And VVD leader and prime minister Mark Rutt has also hinted that alternatives should be looked at if European border controls are not secure.

In her article, Becker said the proposal is a more realistic one than a Nexit to deal with migration issues.

‘We can work on a tougher European refugee system while making a plan to better protect ourselves at times of crisis,’ she said. ‘Not every world citizen who wants a safer or better life is welcome in the Netherlands. And we should not only say that, but deal with it, if such a thing should happen.’

National statistics agency CBS said in January the population of the Netherlands grew by 132,000 last year.

Almost half the new immigrants came from Europe, of whom 85% came from another EU country. A further 18% came from Asia, largely India and China, the CBS said.

Refugees granted residency permits accounted for just 6% of the total new arrivals, or 16,000 people. Some 16,000 people also moved to the Netherlands from America, up 4,000 on 2018 and 10,000 on 2016.

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