Govt scraps planned criminilization of illegality

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Undocumented people living in the Netherlands will not be treated as criminals, the coalition government announced today. The VVD-backed proposal had been a major sticking point between the VVD and PvdA, the majority parties in the lower house, and ChristenUnie, the party the coalition relies on for support in the upper house.

In exchange for dropping the proposal, PvdA agreed to tax cuts for people earning between €40,000 and €110,000 annually. The cut equals roughly €300 per person, totaling €500 million per year. The government parties agreed to cover the cost of the tax break in spending cuts. Cuts will not affect defense, infrastructure and security spending, according to newswire ANP. VVD Parliamentary leader Halbe Zijlstra said in a statement that his party is still in favor of the proposal, but was willing to make the trade-off when the Labour party said “time after time” that it was not a possibility for them. “Obviously, it was not free,” he said. Speaking about the criminalization proposal, PvdA party leader Diederik Samsom said, "A painful measure, like a stone laying in our stomachs and continuing to plague us. That's why we wanted it gone." ChristenUnie and D66, the big winner in last month’s municipal elections, support the policy shift. "Now we can continue the work that is needed," Samson said.