Cabinet wants more clarity on EU refugee plan

The Cabinet is generally positive about many aspects of the European Commission's plan for asylum seekers, but still have some questions they want answered.

This is according to a letter the Cabinet sent to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament on Tuesday.

According to the letter, the government supports the principle that all European countries take responsibilities in taking in refugees. "The human drama taking place before our eyes on the Mediterranean Sea forces joint action by EU Member States." the Cabinet writes. "The problem requires a comprehensive and integrated approach involving all instruments that the European Union has."

The Cabinet does have some questions, however. One proposal in the plan requires Member States to take in an as yet unknown number of asylum seekers from other EU countries in emergency situations. The Cabinet wants to know exactly which countries are involved, who qualifies for this and what procedures will apply. The Cabinet wants clear answers from the European Commission on these matters.

On Tuesday it was reported that the European Commission wants to relocate 40 thousand refugees from Italy and Greece to other EU countries. According to this plan the Netherlands would have to take in 1,740 of these asylum seekers. The European Commission is expected to present an elaboration on the entire plan for asylum seekers on Wednesday.

The Cabinet is happy that attention is paid to the fight against traffickers and better security for outside borders in the European Commission's plan. In the letter the Cabinet reiterates the root causes of refugees fleeing their countries should be addressed in the countries of origin as well as in the transit countries.

"The capacity of countries outside the EU must be strengthened in order to offer refugees a safe haven, to prevent them from falling prey to human traffickers and to as quickly as possible rescue and take in people who run into danger on the sea." State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice writes in the letter.

"There are no simple solutions for these problems." Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs said. ""This requires a long-term approach with all instruments at our disposal, in close cooperation with the countries concerned. Also at EU level I plead for such an approach based on solidarity."


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