Tuesday , February 27 2024

Rutte: "We will treat the islands in the same way as they treat us"

Reciprocity is important for the new Dutch conservative labour cabinet and as such it will apply the same residency registration rules in The Netherlands for people from Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten as the overseas countries have for Dutch people who want to  reside on the islands.

Leader of the conservative VVD party and candidate Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated this on Wednesday during a plenary debate in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament about the Governing Accord that the VVD and its future coalition partner, the Labour Party PvdA, presented on Monday. Rutte stated this in response to questions by Christian Union (CU) Leader in the Second Chamber Arie Slob. Slob sought clarity on the paragraph in the Governing Accord stating that the new cabinet intends to come with a proposal to regulate the registration of migrants from Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten in The Netherlands.

Arie Slob

Slob asked Rutte if this plan to restrict the migration from the other parts of the Kingdom wasn’t at odds with the title of the Governing Accord which spoke of building bridges. Rutte didn’t agree. He said that Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten also had restrictions in place for people from The Netherlands who wanted to take up residency in those countries. Slob pointed out that the
residency requirements on the islands had to do with scale and protection of the local economy and infrastructure. “This is not the
province Limburg or  Vlieland that we are talking about. We all know that this has to do with the scale of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten,” he said. Slob asked Rutte how this plan related to the principle of equal treatment of all citizens in the Kingdom, regardless of where they lived. Rutte replied that “nothing stood in the way” of establishing similar regulations in The Netherlands.“ Because they do that the other way around as well,” he added.

The VVD has been clamouring for a while that it wants stricter residency regulations for poorly educated people from Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten. Member of Parliament (MP) André Bosman of the VVD presented an initiative law in July this year which seeks to set conditions with which people from the three countries have to comply before they can register at a municipality in The  Netherlands. People from the overseas countries, not from the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, will have to show proof of good conduct, they must have a starting qualification – a degree – and they should have work or sufficient income. The aim is to submit the initiative law by January 2013.

In an interview with The Daily Herald, Slob said that his party always had been closely involved with the Kingdom and that when he
had read in the Governing Accord that the new cabinet planned to restrict the migration of people from the overseas countries, he had decided to seek clarity from the VVD Leader. “I wanted to know what is going to happen to this group of Kingdom citizens. It seems that restrictions [are envisioned, ed. DH] for people living within the same Kingdom and we are against that. The new cabinet
uses the te         g to Slob, the new cabinet is setting off on the wrong foot where it comes to the issue of citizenship and equal rights. “We don’t have second-class citizens in the Kingdom. Citizens have the same Dutch nationality in whatever part of the Kingdom they live. I gave a signal today. I will keep a close eye on this issue,” he said.

Source The Daily Herald November 1, 2012

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