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Jorrit Rijpma on asylum policy of new Dutch cabinet

Development aid and migration experts see that lessons have been learned in the new coalition agreement in the area of asylum policy. But many of the commitments come with cynical conditions.

Jorrit Rijpma

The future cabinet in the Netherlands has promised an ‘effective and humane’ asylum policy that includes increasing the budget for the reception of asylum seekers and extending the annual quota for the resettlement of refugees from outside the EU from five hundred to nine hundred. In practice, the most vulnerable refugees from Afghanistan, South  Sudan or Syria, who are now stranded respectively in Pakistan, Uganda or Lebanon, will not benefit from this.

The coalition is full of talk about reception in the region of origin, observes Professor European Law Jorrit Rijpma in Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant. 'But you have to offer something in return. Apart from money, you also need generosity to take in the most vulnerable people who are in danger, need medical care or are otherwise unable to cope in the region of origin.'

In the previous formation in 2017, migration was still a controversial political issue; the emphasis then was on slowing down the flow as much as possible. Now, according to experts, it seems that certain lessons have been learned and broader connections are also being made. For example, for the first time the cabinet has put legitimate labour migration on the agenda, thus recognising the future need for migrant workers from outside the EU. 'It remains to be seen whether it will succeed in sending back more migrants first, but you have to give people something to believe in’, says Rijpma.

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