Justice Sec: Countries must take back failed asylum seekers

Klaas Dijkhoff (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/VVD.nl)Klaas Dijkhoff (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/VVD.nl)

Nations must be prepared to welcome back their citizens who are not granted asylum when they flee their home countries for economic reasons, Dutch Justice Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff said. “Countries that do not take back failed asylum seekers should be dealt with harshly,” Dijkhoff told European leaders in Luxembourg on Thursday, noting he was not referencing people departing from conflict zones, like in Syria and Eritrea.

"We must slam a fist on the table and remember things when these countries do not cooperate," he said.

The Justice Secretary has called on economic sanctions or cancellation of funding for any countries who who do not cooperate in taking their citizens back. "There can be good trade relationships, but it also means that these countries must again take up people if they are not granted asylum by us," Dijkhoff said, according to NOS.

Additional funding and manpower may be necessary to make sure the repatriation process is as smooth as possible, he conceded.

European leaders will meet with the leaders of other nations in November to make better plans for repatriation.