Sunday , October 1 2023

Time for free movement throughout the Kingdom

The Daily Herald published as opinion, that perhaps Dutch Second Chamber Member André Bosman (VVD) is in the Christmas spirit (see Tuesday paper), because his latest statement sounds a lot less antagonistic than usual. He now says his law proposal to regulate the admittance of people from the islands as residents in the Netherlands will be annulled if agreement is reached within the entire Kingdom on the movement of people. What makes it interesting is that he spoke of a mutual arrangement based on the principle of free traffic. This opens the door to what this newspaper has been advocating al all along: that people with Dutch passports ought to be able establish anywhere in the Kingdom without restrictions. Of course, some will say that St. Maarten, Aruba and Curaçao shouldn’t allow themselves to be blackmailed by politicians in The Hague, but the reality is that Bosman represents the party that won the most recent national election and is headed by Prime Minister Mark Rutte. While all members of the VVD/ PvdA coalition may not always agree with the MP, this particular proposal does appear to have majority support in Parliament. Moreover, especially the liberal VVD must take into account the threat of Freedom Party PPV and considerable backing within society for its anti-immigration stance. Expecting reason to prevail in this case may therefore be risky business. The remaining limitations on European Dutchmen moving to the islands don’t amount to much anyway, because they can stay as visitors for six months and then become residents after that if they prove having sufficient income and decent living accommodations. By doing away with those few stipulations left, Bosman no longer could be able use the argument of reciprocity in defence of his ideas that many agree would make second-class citizens of people with the Dutch nationality based on where they were born. It’s time for free movement throughout the Kingdom.

Holland or the Netherlands? That is the question, writes Niels Mathijssen.
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