Jorrit Rijpma: Curbing refugee flow almost impossible
Once again, asylum policy is causing heightened tension in the Dutch Lower House. There was supposed to be an agreement on a new asylum law that could force municipalities to accommodate asylum seekers. At the last minute, the VVD will not agree to this law after all: the VVD party has difficulty with 'coercion' and would rather ensure that fewer asylum seekers come to our country. Is this politically and legally feasible? Professor of European Law Jorrit Rijpma: 'Under European law, these possibilities are very limited'.
European countries are bound by the UN Convention on Refugees and mutual agreements. On Dutch news programme Nieuwsuur, Rijpma said: 'If people meet certain criteria and are entitled to protection, they should get it.’ So we as a country cannot simply decide to admit fewer refugees. 'It is possible to minimise legal protection in order to become less attractive for refugees as a country, but it is even questionable whether this is really allowed.'
The Dublin rule states that refugees should seek asylum in the nearest country where this is possible. Under this regulation, the Netherlands would in principle be allowed to send refugees back, but Rijpma says this is not a solid solution. 'It must then be guaranteed that refugees are actually received in this country and do not end up on the streets. It is therefore more important that we all make sure that other countries comply with European legislation rather than that we ourselves stop doing so.' In doing so, Rijpma stresses that the Dublin rule is not a solidarity rule. 'As a northern European country, you put the lion's share of responsibility and burden on the border countries. That’s ultimately not sustainable.'