Rutte expects European migration measures to take effect from March
It is expected that the upcoming European summit in February, whose main topic is migration, will lead to concrete measures from March or April, according to Prime Minister Mark Rutte. He is positive about the measures proposed by the European Commission. However, the prime minister emphasized that only a few new regulations are possible. It is mainly a matter of turning "familiar buttons" that "are not working well now," Rutte said in his weekly press conference.
"We have had a non-functioning system in Europe for some time," the prime minister said. For example, the Dublin Convention, which determines which country should take in an asylum seeker, is not working. In addition, the Netherlands wants to strengthen the border guard Frontex to better protect the external borders and possibly also the asylum procedures at these external borders. In addition, safe countries should take back rejected asylum seekers more quickly. Countries that do not cooperate could then be subject to punitive measures. The European Commission also sees an advantage in this, as Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced in a letter to member states on Thursday.
In the run-up to the summit on 9 and 10 February, Rutte already spoke with several heads of government, and will also hold talks in the near future. For example, French President Emmanuel Macron will visit The Hague on Monday. The migration topic is also important to Rutte because he has promised VVD to do everything possible to ensure that fewer asylum seekers come to the Netherlands.
"I don't think that on Feb. 9 and 10 we will say: Now the problem is solved, but that we will have a much sharper idea of what we need to keep working on," he said. The idea is that those decisions "will lead to further steps in March and April." Rutte noted that there is "not one golden measure." In addition, the Netherlands itself must also take steps to reduce the number of migrants for work and knowledge, for example.
Reporting by ANP